WASHINGTON (AP) _ Texas Gov. Rick Perry is moving ahead with plans to visit 2016 primary states and calling his indictment politically motivated as he faces two felony counts in his home state.
The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate could be forced to sit for a booking photo and fingerprinting this week in response to a political dispute that has roiled Texas politics.
Perry has tried to rally conservatives to his cause, saying the indictment is symbolic of government overreach.
The governor will be in New Hampshire this weekend, with events planned with Republican activists on Friday and Saturday.
The allegations could pose a distraction for Perry, who stumbled in his 2012 presidential campaign and has tried to gain a second look from GOP voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Gov. Rick Perry today made the following statement regarding the decision by the Travis County Grand Jury:
“As governor, I took an oath to faithfully uphold the constitution of Texas, a pledge that I have kept every day as I’ve worked on behalf of Texans for the last 14 years. This same constitution clearly outlines the authority of any governor to veto items at his or her discretion. Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically.
“I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution.
“This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win. I will explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.”
Friday night statement from Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Gov. Rick Perry:
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.
Friday night statement from David L. Botsford, counsel for Gov. Perry:
I am outraged and appalled that the Grand Jury has taken this action, given the governor’s constitutional right and duty to veto funding as he deems appropriate. This clearly represents political abuse of the court system and there is no legal basis in this decision. The facts of this case conclude that the governor’s veto was lawful, appropriate and well within the authority of the office of the governor. Today’s action, which violates the separation of powers outlined in the Texas Constitution, is nothing more than an effort to weaken the constitutional authority granted to the office of Texas governor, and sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a grand jury to punish the exercise of a lawful and constitutional authority afforded to the Texas governor.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors.
The Republican governor’s accused of abusing his official powers by publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit at the Travis County District Attorney’s office. He was indicted by an Austin grand jury Friday on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.
Perry said he’d veto the funding if the district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, didn’t resign. Lehmberg had recently been convicted of drunken driving. When Lehmberg refused, Perry carried out his veto.