L.A. Times: Rick Perry Indicted for . . . Abusing His Power and Shutting Down Ethics Investigations??
Yeah, not quite. More like he’s being indicted for withholding money from an belligerent, drunken, power-abusing District Attorney. Not that you would know this from reading the L.A. Times. Just listen to how they portray this story:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury Friday, accused of two felony counts of abusing his power by eliminating funds for the state’s ethics watchdog.
The byzantine case involves the drunk-driving conviction of a Democratic prosecutor, deep-seated partisan tensions and a test of Perry’s powers as the longest-serving chief executive in Texas history. It comes as Perry attempts to resurrect his image and renew his presidential ambitions after a disastrous 2012 run.
With the governor already planning to step down at the end of his term in January, the impact is likely to be greatest outside his home state, where Perry is probably still best known for the pratfalls of his unsuccessful White House bid.
“It’s a red light,” said Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist in Austin, Texas, who believes Perry had done much to repair his reputation among Republicans, especially with his recent tough stance on immigration issues. “It stops a lot of the momentum.”
It’s all about Perry trying to shut down a corruption investigation, according to the L.A. Times. It takes until the 14th paragraph to get the explanation of how the indictment relates to drunken, abusive Travis County D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg:
Against that backdrop, Travis County Dist. Atty. Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested last year on drunken-driving charges. She turned belligerent after police stopped her, and a videotape of her aggressive behavior in custody was widely circulated in the Texas media.
Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunken driving is bad enough. Her belligerence is worse. But the L.A. Times never mentions once the most important point of all: Lehmberg’s attempted abuse of power when arrested.
I discussed this when the investigation was first announced in April. Why did Perry threaten to withhold funding from a public integrity unit run by the D.A. of Travis County? Yes, part of it was because she had been arrested for DWI, with a .23 blood alcohol level:
And part of the problem were that she had been belligerent with police, to the point where she needed to be restrained:
But the real problem is much worse: she demanded repeatedly to talk to the sheriff, and refused to resign. Here she is being belligerent and repeatedly asking deputies if they have called “Greg” — Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton.
Watch that video. She is attempting to use her power and influence to get out of jail.
I see a lot of attacks on Rosemary Lehmberg for being a drunk tonight. Those are cute — but miss the more important point: her attempted abuse of power when arrested. Rick Perry was right to object to a government corruption prosecution unit being run by someone who tried to use her power to avoid jail. Now, he is being indicted and charged with a felony — for doing his job. Perry vetoed public funding for an organization whose leader showed she can’t be trusted. Apparently, to avoid prosecution, he needed to keep the money flowing.
A veto — a veto! — was a prosecutable offense.
This is America?
And the damned L.A. Times won’t even tell readers what the real problem is.