This week, a Texas judge said that he plans to have a special prosecutor look at charges that Gov. Rick Perry broke the law when he cut funding for state public corruption investigators.
The watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint that stems from an April drunk-driving arrest of Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, who oversees the state’s criminal ethics department. The department’s cases included the prosecution of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and an investigation into the state’s $3 billion cancer research agency.
After her arrest, Lehmberg pleaded guilty and served a reduced sentence of less than 45 days. Amid loud demands from Perry and the state’s GOP for her to resign, Lehmberg refused. In response to her defiance, Perry threatened to eliminate $3.7 million from the state’s annual funding if she did not step down.
Lehmberg remained in office — and Perry made good on his threat, vetoing the money in June.
According to the two-page complaint that was filed shortly after Perry’s actions, the governor was accused of violating laws regarding “coercion of a public servant, bribery, abuse of official capacity and official oppression.”
“Governor Perry violated the Texas Penal Code by communicating offers and threats under which he would exercise his official discretion to veto the appropriation,” the executive director of Texans for Public Justice Craig McDonald wrote in the complaint.
Gov. Perry’s office claimed that they haven’t heard anything in regards to an investigation.