Rick Perry Line-Item Vetoes Funding For Public Integrity Unit Because Some Lady Got A DWI, Makes Sense To Us

Rick Perry Line-Item Vetoes Funding For Public Integrity Unit Because Some Lady Got A DWI, Makes Sense To Us

So you see, Texas has this thing called a Public Integrity Unit, which is supposed to ride herd on public officials' ethics and spending and stuff. Except now it doesn't do anything, because Gov. Rick Perry used his line-item veto to eliminate funding for the Unit after the “some lady” in our headline, Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg, who runs the Public Integrity Unit, went and got a DWI citation. Lehmberg is a Democrat, but of course her party affiliation has nothing to do with this, what a vile notion! So Perry isn’t exactly saying “Someone, somewhere is a drunk driver, therefore impeach.” But it’s almost that bad, because in announcing his veto of the Public Integrity Unit’s $7.5 million appropriation (less than .01% of Texas’s FY2012-13 budget), Perry had this to say (emphasis ours):

"Despite the otherwise good work the Public Integrity Unit's employees, I cannot in good conscience support continued State funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public's confidence. This unit is in no other way held accountable to state taxpayers, except through the State budgetary process. I therefore object to and disapprove of this appropriation."

"Good work, all other employees of the Public Integrity Unit, please enjoy being fired!"

Would it shock you to learn that Perry's "no other way" assertion is incorrect in at least two ways? One, many Texas DAs, including Travis County’s, are elected. So voters could definitely make sure she is “held accountable.” Of course, she’s not up for election again for a while, which brings us to Two: A former political opponent of Lehmberg’s, Rick Reed, is suing to have her removed on the grounds that Texas law provides for the removal of public officials due to “misconduct and intoxication on or off duty.” Wow, Texans, maybe you recall how your definitely-a-public-official Governor was high as a kite on delicious painkillers during our favorite debate of all time? Are the wheels turning, Texans?

So now Texas House Democrats are asking “What if she just resigns, like Rick says he wants? Could we maybe keep a useful good-gummint watchdog in place THEN?" House Republican leaders “didn’t have an immediate response” to this. Maybe because it really isn’t about the drunk driving lady? Just try googling “Texas DA accused” and you’ll wonder how Texas still has a criminal justice system at all, if they’re applying this kind of logic across the board. (Hint:  they are not!)

Rick Perry doesn’t care, he’ll just throw out the baby, the bath water, the tub, whatever. Do not let Rick Perry wash your babies! Ultimately, there’s no way to override his veto, because Texas, so the best Democrats and “integrity-lovers” can do is de-fund something else to make up for the cuts. Who will starve for justice today? Will it be you, patriot?



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