When Texans found out they were footing the bill for Gov. Perry’s high dollar legal defense they started asking questions. Then the Texas Tribune reported that this may be the first time a Texas Governor has ever charged taxpayers for attorney’s fees.
Now Gov. Perry, who we rarely see retreat has bowed to public pressure and agreed to pay his “future” bills with privately raised funds. But what about the $80,000 he has billed so far?
It seems odd that the Governor would feel the heat and not move to put out the fire completely.
The conversation around the indictment has moved from his successful public relations campaign of retrying the Travis County District Attorney to, “Where’s the money?” Perry’s best chance to swiftly move to the next media narrative would have been to fully reimburse the public for the costs he has already incurred so far.
Why? Because when most Texans bill the state for their constitutional right to legal representation they don’t get a court appointed attorney that charges $450 an hour. But that is exactly how much just one of Perry’s top attorney has been billing the state for a total of about $80,000.
Felix Browne, a Perry spokesperson, told the Texas Tribune, “This is an assault on the Constitution…We don’t want it to be an assault on the taxpayers as well.”
Of course we can just as easily consider the threat of retribution to grand jurors as “an assault on the taxpayers as well.” But, even if to the Perry camp — it’s just about the money — then they need to pay up. Perry has almost 5 million in the bank and has relentlessly employed his federal fundraising arm Rick PAC to aid in his public defense.
Progress Texas, who hasn’t given either Perry or Greg Abbott an inch since the indictment and have done a masterful job of connecting the dots and exposing the weak points of Perry’s public defense so far, is circulating a petition calling on the Governor to cough up the 80 grand and seeking an official opinion on the matter from AG Greg Abbott.
So far the Attorney General has been mum.
Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.