A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two counts Friday, accusing him of abusing his veto power by threatening to withhold funding from the Travis County’s public corruption unit if the district attorney did not resign following her drunken driving arrest.
The Travis County grand jury, led by special prosecutor Mike McCrum, indicted Perry on one count of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony.
The punishment range for the first count is 5 to 99 years in prison and on the second count, 2 to 10 years in prison, McCrum said.
"I’m ready to go forward," McCrum said. Asked about the effect on Perry carrying out his duties or eyeing higher office, McCrum said, "I took into account we’re talking about the governor of a state… When it gets down to it, the law is the law."
McCrum said he will meet with Perry’s lawyer and the judge to set up a time for Perry to come before a court to be arraigned and be given notice of the charges against him. The date has not been set.
Calls to Perry’s office and his lawyer were not immediately returned Friday evening.
Mary Anne Wiley, general counsel for the governor’s office, Gov. Rick Perry, issued a brief statement: “The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”
Grand jurors for months have been looking into whether Perry violated the law last year when he said he’d kill funding for the Travis County district attorney’s public corruption division unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after a messy drunken-driving arrest.
Perry carried through on the veto threat when Lehmberg stayed on the job.
Austin watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with prosecutors last year over Perry’s threat. The group, which tracks money in politics, contended that with the threat, Perry violated laws against coercion of a public servant, abuse of official capacity, official oppression and, potentially, bribery.
Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, said the legal system worked.
"The grand jury decided his bullying was actually lawbreaking, just as we thought it was," McDonald said. "These were exactly the acts we believed were illegal, so the grand jury believed our complaint had merit — and now the legal system can work. The governor will have to defend his actions in court."”
– The Houston Chronicle, "Perry Indicted On Two Felony Charges"
“We have always been a nation of immigrants… who hate the newer immigrants.”
– On the Republicans’ hatred of immigrant children coming to the U.S. hoping for a better life, JON STEWART, The Daily Show
With an unusual assist from African-American voters and other Democrats who feared his opponent, Senator Thad Cochran on Tuesday beat back a spirited challenge from State Senator Chris McDaniel, triumphing in a Republican runoff and defeating the Tea Party in the state where the movement’s hopes were bright.
“We all have a right to be proud of our state tonight,” Mr. Cochran said at his victory party in Jackson, Miss. “This is your victory.”
Mr. McDaniel, speaking in Hattiesburg, was angry, and he did not hesitate to say so. “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats,” he said.
He accused Mr. Cochran of abandoning the conservative movement. “So much for principles,” he said.
Mr. McDaniel, an uncompromising conservative, relied on the muscle of outside groups and the enthusiasm of conservative voters who are weary of Mr. Cochran’s old-school Washington ways.
The 76-year-old senator ran a largely sleepy campaign until the primary on June 3, when he was edged out by Mr. McDaniel but won enough votes to keep his opponent from outright victory. Mr. Cochran, who is seeking his seventh term, used the past three weeks to turn out Democratic voters — especially African-Americans — to make up that deficit.
A surge of voters showed up on Tuesday in African-American precincts and in Mr. Cochran’s other strongholds to surprise Mr. McDaniel, 41, who just Monday night declared his campaign had gone from impossible to improbable to unstoppable. Early Wednesday, with all but one precinct reporting, Mr. Cochran’s lead over Mr. McDaniel was a little more than 6,000 votes. Recounts are not required under Mississippi law, although Mr. McDaniel could seek to challenge the results through the courts.
Mr. Cochran’s victory was powered in part by African-Americans in areas of north Jackson whose turnout shattered that seen in those precincts in the primary. Turnout jumped fivefold at New Hope Baptist Church, and sevenfold at Green Elementary School, where only 14 voters came out on June 3 but about 100 showed up on Tuesday.
Their high numbers came despite pledges by conservative political action committees to monitor turnout in Democratic areas targeted by Mr. Cochran’s campaign. Both the N.A.A.C.P. — which sent its own poll watchers — and the United States Justice Department expressed concerns about the possible intimidation of black Democrats, but no irregularities were reported to Mississippi election officials. The state has no party registration, and anyone could vote in the Republican runoff who had not voted in the Democratic primary, which was won by former Representative Travis Childers, 56.
It was an extraordinary end to a wild campaign, with a Republican standing up for the rights of black Democrats, and with Tea Party groups from the North, especially the Senate Conservatives Fund, crying foul.”
The New York Times, "Cochran Holds Off Tea Party Challenger in Mississippi."
You would laugh if you didn’t realize how sad it all was.
Or “It was the worst of times.”
In light of Republican stalwart Eric Cantor’s primary loss to a Tea Party candidate, here’s a look back at Jon Stewart’s segment from a few weeks back in which he reminds us that the GOP and the Tea Party are essentially one and the same.
You reap what you sow, be careful what you wish for, et cetera.
“Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”
Conservative Tea Party Republican JOE “THE PLUMBER” WURZELBACHER, sensitively addressing the families of mass shooting victims in California and, by extension, every other family that has ever had a loved one die by gunshot.
Hey, gun nuts and others on the right: do you hear yourselves talking?
Today in jackassery.
Maybe America ain’t as dumb as we think.
Stephen is dismayed by the GOP’s prospective presidential candidates in 2016.
So is the GOP, we’d imagine.