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The strategy behind last week’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry can be clearly seen in what isn’t included in Rachel Maddow’s story on MSNBC. (See the story here.) Gov. Perry faces two felony charges for abusing his office. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
The group that filed the complaint that led to the appointment of a special prosecutor is Texans for Public Justice. TPJ is not some benign watchdog. It is a hard-left repeat offender that went after Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in 1993 and Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2005.
Now they’ve gone after Rick Perry.
This story begins in April 2013 when Travis County District Attorney Rosemay Lehmberg was arrested and subsequently plead guilty to driving while intoxicated. While in custody, she was abusive and unruly and had to be restrained. (See video below.)
There were multiple calls for Ms. Lehmberg to resign, one of which came from Gov. Perry. When Lehmberg refused to resign, Rick Perry stated that he would veto $7.5 million in state funds for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County DA’s office so long as Ms. Lehmberg was in charge of it. The Public Integrity Unit is a county-level office that has the authority to investigate and prosecute acts of malfeasance by statewide office holders.
Subsequent to Perry’s exercise of that veto, Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with the Travis County DA, the very same district attorney upon whom Rick Perry had called to resign. A special prosecutor was appointed and the prosecutor convinced a grand jury in uber-liberal Austin to hand up an indictment against a conservative governor.
Missing from Ms. Maddow’s reporting is the fact that Texans for Public Justice exists for the express and sole purpose of doing for Democrats in Texas what they can’t do at the ballot box, which is to say, defeat Republicans. To no one’s recollection have they ever had even the tiniest quibble with a Democrat.
In the cases of Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay and now Rick Perry, Texans for Public Justice used the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office as the (highly complicit) muscle to carry out blatantly political attacks.
Rachel Maddow somehow missed the fact that the case brought against Kay Bailey Hutchison was laughed out of the trial court in less than 30 minutes. Tom DeLay’s conviction was eventually overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
With respect to Gov. Perry, the only possible mistake he made lies in the reason he gave for his veto. Instead of saying he would not commit statewide funds for an office that purports to uphold public integrity so long as the person in charge of it fails herself in a very basic test of integrity, he should have said, ‘Any official holding the capacity to prosecute a statewide office holder for malfeasance in the conduct of that office should himself be accountable to every voter in the state rather than only to the voters of a single county.’
Maddow is correct in her assertion that Republicans despise the Public Integrity Unit. But that’s simply because the last two Travis County DAs, Ronnie Earle and now Rosemary Lehmberg, have displayed a conspicuous lack thereof in their stewardship of it. The unit only nominally, if at all, addresses breaches of public integrity. The Public Integrity Unit has been hijacked by Democrats in the most hard-left county in the state for the purpose of bringing political and financial ruin to Republicans.
In the case of Kay Bailey Hutchison they failed. In the case of Tom DeLay they succeeded. They’re one for two looking to go two for three.
None of this context is in Rachel Maddow’s piece nor will it be in most of the reporting on this story.
It is highly unlikely that Perry will ever be convicted but it doesn’t matter. The real goal is not criminal punishment. The goal is political destruction.
On that front, with the help of blatantly liberal reporting like that of Rachel Maddow, or otherwise lazy reporting by the rest of the media, the goal might well be achieved.