Capital Tonight: Perry Mugs for Cameras at County Courthouse

Gov. Rick Perry made the most of being booked and fingerprinted after a two-count indictment Tuesday. He spoke to a crowd of journalists and supporters before entering the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex to get fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken. Then, he came out and spoke again.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard more about the governor’s day at the courthouse, plus we learned more about the special prosecutor who led the investigation into Perry, and we spoke to two lawyers about the strength of the state’s case against the governor.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

After the speeches, came the release of the mugshot. Will it haunt his 2016 ambitions? Political strategists Harold Cook and Brendan Steinhauser weighed in.

PATTERSON’S TAKE

Plus, we heard from a man with no fear of sharing his opinion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson joined us to talk about the Perry indictment and a proposed change intended to allow the sale of alcohol at certain gun shows.

Gov. Perry Office Confirms He Will Appear for Processing

Gov. Rick Perry will appear at the Travis County Justice Complex at 5:00 this evening to be booked on felony charges. A grand jury indicted Perry on Friday on abuse of official capacity and coercion charges.

The charges stem from 2013 when Perry threatened to veto funding for the state’s public integrity unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign. He followed through and cut $7.5 million when she refused.

Perry and his team of high profile attorneys have maintained that Perry was well within his rights as governor to veto any legislation he saw fit. In regard to the veto threat, Perry attorney David Botsford said, “if he had in, fact said to Rosemary Lehmberg: ‘I do not approve of your conduct. I am not going to fund the Public Integrity Unit unless and until you have resigned.’ There is absolutely no question as a matter of law that that conduct is protected and it is not illegal.”

 

Capital Tonight: Perry Defense Team Makes Case in Court of Public Opinion

The governor’s legal team came out with guns blazing Monday, laying out their plan to fight a grand jury’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how the team of high-powered defense lawyers is making their case. Plus, we heard from attorney Dick DeGuerin, who defended Kay Bailey Hutchison after her indictment, about how he believes the governor’s case will play out.

ON THE AGENDA

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg weighed in on the possible political implications of the Perry indictment, including what it means for Perry’s 2016 hopes and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s national reputation.

POWERS REFLECTS

UT Austin President Bill Powers has also seen his share of time in the spotlight. Now, he says he’s glad to be able to focus on what’s important. He joined us for a one-on-one discussion on his last year in office, his accomplishments and tension with UT System leadership.

Perry Vows to Fight Indictment in Fiery Press Conference

Governor Rick Perry is calling the two-count indictment against him a “farce” and vowing to fight it through every legal avenue available.

The governor gave a brief, strongly worded statement Saturday afternoon, defending his veto of funding for the state’s Public Integrity Unit, headed by District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. In a prepared statement that lasted less than three minutes, Perry said his actions were within his executive authority and that the case against him is purely political.

You can read the governor’s full statement below and watch the full press conference here.

“As governor, I took an oath to faithfully uphold the constitution of Texas, a pledge that I have kept every day as I’ve worked on behalf of Texans for the last 14 years. This same constitution clearly outlines the authority of any governor to veto items at his or her discretion. Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically.

“I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution.

“This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win. I will explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.”

Capital Tonight: State Party Leaders Respond to Perry Indictment

The governor or Texas has been indicted. Friday evening, a grand jury found that Gov. Rick Perry can be prosecuted on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri and Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer to get their reactions.

BEHIND THE INDICTMENT

We also spoke to the man who filed the criminal complaint against the governor, Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Pluls, reporters Bob Garrett of The Dallas Morning News and Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune joined us for a special reporter roundtable.

Governor Indicted on Two Counts

The governor or Texas has been indicted. Friday evening, a grand jury found that Gov. Rick Perry can be prosecuted on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

The charges stem from last legislative session, when the governor threatened to slash state funding from the Public Integrity Unit unless Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after her drunk driving arrest. Lehmberg refused to resign and the governor carried through on that threat. The unit, which investigates allegations against elected officials across the state, operates out of the Travis County DA’s Office. Lehmberg is a Democrat, and if she had resigned, Perry, a Republican, would have been able to appoint her replacement.

You can see the full indictment below:

Perry Indictment

Capital Tonight: Painting a Picture of the Upcoming Budget Battle

The first wave of National Guard troops has arrived at the border, even while the bulk of them are still in training. In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the role they’re playing and why some local business leaders say they’re not needed.

Plus, we explained how a key piece of information could cause some to lose the coverage they signed up for under the Affordable Care Act.

BUDGET BATTLE

The next two-year budget process is underway, with Sen. Jane Nelson at the helm. Our capital commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weigh in on some of the minefields finance chair Jane Nelson will have to navigate in what Delisi predicts will be a “highly political environment.”

LEADERSHIP ROLES

Does gender matter when it comes to political leadership? Ann Beeson of the Center for Public Policy Priorities joined us to give her take on why putting women in charge is about more than demographics.

McAllen Business Leader to Perry: ‘Troops Are Not Needed Here’

While National Guard troops continue to train at Camp Swift, the head of one group of border business leaders says leave them where they are.

The president of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, Steve Ahlenius, wrote an open letter to Gov. Rick Perry this week. He’s asking the governor to reconsider his decision to send 1,000 troops to the border, saying they’re not needed. Ahlenius points out that the number of children crossing over has dropped since June, and he argues that the money could be better spent on things like local law enforcement and increased surveillance technology.

Ahlenius also argues the decision is bad for local business, saying:

“Additionally, deploying the Guard to the border sends the wrong image to 200 South Korean and Japanese companies who are considering moving manufacturing facilities to McAllen.”

Nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border from Central America since October. The governor says National Guard troops won’t be authorized to arrest anyone crossing illegally. But he says they’ll assist border patrol by deterring immigrants and by referring border crimes to the Department of Public Safety.

Capital Tonight: Congressman Carter Describes Process behind House Border Bill

Gov. Rick Perry is staying closely involved in his decision to send National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, meeting with some of the troops who will soon head south as they go through training.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we shared more details on what the troop rollout will look like and whether the call for volunteers has been met. Plus, we checked in on the final day of the latest hearing over the state’s abortion law.

IN-DISTRICT INTERVIEW

When it comes to the Congressional response to the border situation, the end result is still up in the air. Congressman John Carter joined us to explain his role in getting the House to react before lawmakers headed home for break.

AIR WARS CONTINUE

Greg Abbott is fighting back in the governor’s race with an attack ad of his own, after Wendy Davis kicked off her television ad campaign criticizing Abbott for a ruling he made as a member of the Texas Supreme Court. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to analyze that and more.

Capital Tonight: Budget Team Finds Footing under New Leadership

The state’s top budget writers gaveled in under the leadership of Sen. Jane Nelson for the first time Tuesday. We looked at how Sen. Nelson is tackling her role as the Finance Committee’s first female chair.

Plus, we looked at the Texas Attorney General’s office’s petition against a proposed EPA regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency says it wants to clarify language in the law to protect any water that flows into larger bodies downstream. But the AG’s office says the new language would give too much power to federal authorities.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

The newly formed PAC supporting Rick Perry is already out with a video ad. Our capital commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on the governor’s political strategy as an undeclared candidate.

CHEMICAL DISCLOSURE

The state’s policy on the disclosure of dangerous chemicals may have faded as a political issue, but one environmental group says it should still be a concern. The executive director for the Texas League of Conservation Voters, David Weinberg, joined us to explain why.