Rick Perry is currently under criminal investigation for abusing his power as governor–but he doesn't want Texans to know about it.
The Travis County grand jury investigating Rick Perry's potential abuse of power convened on Friday, and Perry may very well have to testify. According to new reports, Rick Perry asked for a non-public entrance into the courthouse in advance of the grand jury hearing. His team has apparently “asked if there was a back door way to get to the grand jury room, away from reporters, cameras and the public.”
In case you had forgotten, Rick Perry is currently under investigation for potential bribery, coercion, and abuse of office. At issue is his attempt to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her DUI last year.
In an ironic twist, it turns out that the only non-public entrance to the grand jury room is through Rosemary Lehmberg's office. That means that if Perry wants to hide from the media when he goes into the courtroom, he'll have to go through the office of the very person he's accused of threatening.
Tough break, but that's the price you have to pay when you want to hide your bribery investigation from the media to preserve your chances at another presidential run.
For those who need a reminder of Rick Perry's situation, and why he's under criminal investigation, Progress Texas has a good summary:
- Gov. Perry called for the resignation of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, stating that if she did not step down he would veto $7.5 million in state funds for the DA's Public Integrity Unit, which is charged with policing ethics of legislators and other state officeholders.
Lehmberg refused, and Gov. Perry made good on the veto.
Not coincidentally, the PIU was actively investigating donors associated with the officials overseeing one of Gov. Perry's signature projects, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
Attorney General Greg Abbott was among those charged with providing oversight to the cancer research entity, but that wasn't enough to prevent a felony indictment of a high-ranking CPRIT official.
Had Lehmberg resigned, it would have conveniently been up to the Governor to appoint her replacement.
This veto appears to be a thinly-veiled attempt to let both Rick Perry and Greg Abbott off the hook for corruption that took place on their watch.
It's inconvenient timing for Perry, as he's just started to gear up his 2016 presidential run. He's visited Iowa three times in the past 6 months.
Perhaps that's why he's trying to sneak into the courtroom. As the Austin American-Statesman pointed out, “Images in the media of Perry arriving to testify in the matter would be a reminder that he's facing potential legal trouble just as he's largely repaired his national image following embarrassing stumbles during his 2012 presidential bid.”
Unfortunately for Perry, he can't hide the fact that his years of corruption as Texas governor are finally catching up with him. Texans deserve to know the truth. Even if Perry avoids the front door in the Travis County courtroom, the eyes of Texas are upon him to hold him accountable for his behavior.