The Democratic National Committee has gone all-in to support the indictment and prosecution of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In an email sent out by the DNC, the Democrats attempt to tie Perry’s veto of funding for the Travis County DA’s Public Integrity Unit to an investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT.
This narrative posits that Perry used Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest as an excuse to gut the PIU just as it was circling around Perry appointees who had allegedly engaged in corrupt grants through CPRIT. This narrative accuses Perry of doing what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually did, more or less, though in Cuomo’s case he appointed the commission that started circling around his administration. Cuomo shut it down before its investigations could get too close.
According to the Austin American-Statesman — which is to Texas media what the New York Times is to the national media (i.e. unabashedly liberal) — the Democrats’ narrative does not stand up to scrutiny at all.
- October 2012: Concerns about CPRIT’s practices come to light in a report in the Dallas Morning News. Within a month of the Morning News story, members of the Texas Legislature call for reforms of the state cancer agency.
- December 2012: The Public Integrity Unit officially begins its CPRIT investigation.
- January 2013: Lehmberg tells the American-Statesman that the 11 members of the CPRIT board – all of whom were appointed by Perry – “are not under suspicion in the investigation.” That means the investigation is focusing only on CPRIT staff members, none of whom were appointed or hired by Perry.
Read the rest at the link. There was eventually an indictment in the CPRIT case, of a staffer who wasn’t appointed by Perry.
Perry’s veto of the PIU’s state funding did not even shut that office down, by the way. After his veto, Travis County moved funds from other areas and kept the unit going. The CPRIT investigation itself continued.
Perry’s veto was nothing more or less than what happens in politics all the time. Governors and presidents routinely use their veto power to stop things that they don’t want, and to get things that they do want. That’s part of the purpose of the veto power. If voters don’t like it, our recourse is to contact the governor, contact our representatives and senators, voice our displeasure in whatever peaceful way we choose, and vote.
In this case, Perry was trying to restore credibility to an agency that its head had badly damaged with her irresponsible actions.
Even the New York Times, certainly no fan of Rick Perry at all, can see that he did nothing that is worthy of indictment, prosecution or resignation.
Once the dust settles on the Perry indictment, the Texas legislature needs to take a long, hard look at the Public Integrity Unit in Travis County. No county government should have such sweeping jurisdiction over officials who do not live there, but who are sent there by the voters to serve the people of Texas.