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Lawyers will tell you that any good prosecutor could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
Well, meet that ham sandwich! A Texas grand jury has just indicted Gov. Rick Perry, a real ham – only not as smart. He’s charged with official abuse of power – specifically, threatening to veto all state funding for a public integrity unit that, among other things, was investigating corrupt favoritism in one of the governor’s pet projects. Perry was trying to muscle out of office the woman who is the duly-elected head of that unit, presumably to halt its inquiry. Leave office, he publicly barked at her, or I’ll take away all your money. She didn’t, and he did.
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Not smart, for that’s an illegal quid pro quo, much like linking a campaign donation to an official favor. This led to a judge, a special prosecutor, a grand jury and now the indictment of the gubernatorial ham sandwich.
Perry and his Republican operatives quickly denounced and even threatened both the special prosecutor and the jurors as partisan hacks who, in Rick’s words, “will be held to account.” Thuggish as that is, the national media have mostly swallowed Perry’s hokum that he’s the victim, indicted for nothing more than exercising his veto power. It’s crude politics, Rick howled, as he turned his courthouse mug-shot moment into a raucous Republican political rally.
Perry has hornswoggled the pundits, but don’t let them fool you – this is serious. Again, the issue is not Perry’s veto, but his linking of a veto threat to his effort to oust an elected public official. As for his hamming it up about being a poor victim of Democrats, the judge who appointed the prosecutor is a Republican, and the prosecutor himself was nominated to federal office by President Bush I and endorsed by the Texas’ Republican senators.
“Texas Governor Indicted In case Alleging Abuses,” The New York Times, August 16, 2014.
“Why the conventional wisdom in the Rick Perry indictment story might be incomplete,” www.dallasnews.com, August 20, 2014.
“Five Things to Know About Perry Indictment,” www.texastribune.org, August 16, 2014.
“The Dumbest Thing You Can Do,” www.texasmonthly.com, August 17, 2014
“Grand jurors deny politics played role in Perry indictment,” www.chorn.com, August 19, 2014.