Abuse of Power in Texas:  Someone’s Guilty – Just Maybe Not the Person Charged

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also
by the abuse of power.”   -James Madison

Presently in Texas, the governor is under indictment for abuse of official power, because he threatened to veto funding for the Travis County (Austin) District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit unless the elected Travis County D.A. resigned following the D.A.’s arrest on DUI charges.  The D.A., who’d been videotaped hurling threats and demands at police while she was in lockup, later pleaded guilty to the charges, but didn’t resign.  Gov. Perry carried out the threat and vetoed part of the D.A.’s budget.  The governor then, rather mystifyingly, found himself indicted for supposed abuse of power – for the veto threat.

If you are stumped about why a veto threat is the basis for a serious criminal charge, join the crowd.  It’s a head-scratcher, all right.  My own view is that the D.A. herself was the one who abused her power.  Here’s the letter I wrote to that effect, which was published this past weekend in the Austin American Statesman:

“Re: Aug. 16 article, “Perry indicted for veto threat.”

The ready explanation for the governor’s action is that the Travis County district attorney abused her own power while in custody and was no longer morally fit to run her office. Her demands of police to release her – her drunken outrage when they refused – reveal someone who thinks she is above the law. I can only imagine the glee of one of her prosecutors presenting such video evidence to a jury against any other individual her office would charge with DWI. It’s difficult to see how the governor’s action was in any way illegal or wrong.”