Republicans are clearly no strangers to blackmail. Heck, Congressional Republicans have been trying to blackmail President Obama since he took office. So it should come as no surprise to see Texas Governor Rick Perry being investigated for possibly abusing his office when he tried to blackmail Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after a DUI arrest this past April.
Lehmberg pled guilty and served half of a 45 day jail sentence, but refused to give in to calls from Republicans and Governor Perry to resign.
So what did Perry do? Well, he threatened to cut funding for the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which Lehmberg resided over, if she didn’t step down from her position.
Not only did he threaten this, he did so publicly.
She didn’t step down, and in June Rick Perry vetoed $3.7 million in funding for the program. As a result of the budget cuts, the office was then forced to layoff 10 employees and drop 54 of its 400 active cases.
Except, he can’t do that. See, it’s illegal for Perry to use his power to threaten another public servant. Which is exactly what he did. Though I’m sure Perry will try and spin it another way.
Good luck with that. He very publicly made it known he wanted Ms. Lehmberg to resign and that if she didn’t he would cut funding for her office. Let’s just look at his comments:
“Despite the otherwise good work (of) the Public Integrity Unit’s employees, I cannot in good conscience support continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence.”
And there it is.
He felt she should resign, and because she didn’t, he cut funding for the Public Integrity Unit. And there’s absolutely no way to spin that.
While he set out on a personal mission to try and force Ms. Lehmberg to resign, he seemingly couldn’t care less that his budget cuts would end up costing 10 people their jobs. Nothing quite like playing politics with people’s lives, right?
For Rick Perry to sit on some pedestal of morality is the definition of hypocrisy. After all, Perry is the one who created his own slush fund paid for by taxpayers so he could travel around the country building support for a 2016 presidential campaign. And let’s not forget, his state recently admitted to partisan gerrymandering Congressional districts to specifically weaken the Democratic vote in Texas.
So Perry needs to spare us all from this charade that he’s some authority on acting ethically and with impeccable morals. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing Ms. Lehmberg’s actions or saying she absolutely deserved to keep her job. But Rick Perry is the last person who should be lecturing someone else on morals and ethics judging by the examples he’s given us through his actions.
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