Will Texas Taxpayers Pick Up Rick Perry's Legal Tab? What Does Greg Abbott Think?

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So here's a question for all of you fiscal conservatives out there: should Texas taxpayers foot the bill for Rick Perry's increasingly costly legal defense?

When Texas can't afford to keep our roads paved and must grind them into gravel, and when the $5 billion in cuts to public education in 2011 still have not been restored, can taxpayers really afford Rick Perry's criminal defense?

In the meantime, Greg Abbott has been asked for an official Attorney General opinion on whether or not taxpayers are required to foot the bill — and he hasn't answered yet.

In April, after a grand jury was convened to look into Rick Perry's coercive use of power to try and force the Travis County DA to resign, it was reported that Perry hired a $450-an-hour top-notch criminal defense attorney.

Back in July, it became clear that Texans had already covered $40,000 in legal bills for Rick Perry.

Rick Perry won't tell us what the grand total is now, and with his indictment last week those totals are only going to climb.

(Oh, there's also this whole awkward thing about how Rick Perry's defense attorney tried to get him investigated by the FBI back in the day but NBD that happens all the time, amirite?)

In April, State Representative Joe Deshotel requested an official legal opinion from the AG on whether the state is required to pay for Perry's criminal defense. View the request here.

As we reported earlier, the letter also addresses a number of other important legal questions, not limited to but including:

    Is Rick Perry required by the Constitution to use only the Attorney General or a District or County Attorney to defend him in a criminal matter that involves his capacity as Governor?

    Under what authority can the governor decline to be represented by the AG, a DA, or a County Attorney?

    If authority to hire private counsel for the governor exists, how would the Attorney General authorize payment for such private counsel?

In the meantime, Rick Perry launched his own federal fundraising PAC, RickPAC, probably because I Can't Count To Three PAC was already taken. That raises a serious question:

Since his political committee is fundraising furiously off of the indictment, instead of Texas taxpayers, shouldn't Rick Perry's PAC pay for his criminal defense?


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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