Gov. Rick Perry
Sep 29th - 12:46 pm
Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for an independent investigation into Attorney General Greg Abbott’s role in the Texas Enterprise Fund. The call comes on the heels of a scathing audit that revealed more more than $170 million was awarded to businesses that never submitted an application.
The Davis campaign is accusing Abbott of using his office to cover up the transition of the funds by hiding documents and denying open records requests that would have proven Abbott knew the applications never existed.
“Greg Abbott has been Attorney General throughout the entire existence of the Enterprise Fund, and he was responsible for acting as its watchdog, monitoring its accounts and recovering misspent money,” Davis said. “For that entire time, Mr. Abbott did not recover one dime of taxpayer dollars for the Enterprise Fund.”
Davis is also demanding that Abbott return the $1.4 million in campaign contributions he received from grant recipients.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the Attorney General’s office maintains Abbott was following state law because releasing confidential applications could put companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Sep 24th - 6:07 pm
Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum filed a motion in Travis County Court Wednesday, arguing Gov. Rick Perry should be required to attend pretrial hearings.
The motion is in response to a request from Perry’s legal team that the governor be permitted to skip any hearing where evidence isn’t presented, beginning with a hearing scheduled for October 13. Perry’s lawyers assert Perry has “long standing plans” to be in Europe on that date. They further argue that it is common practice for the court to waive a defendant’s presence at all non-evidentiary pretrial hearings.
McCrum’s motion disputes that assertion, arguing that there are plenty of legitimate reasons the defendant would need to be present. “The defendant improperly suggests that there is a presumption that important issues will not be addressed,” the brief says. “The absence of an evidentiary hearing does not necessarily indicate that important substantive issues could arise at any court setting.”
McCrum also argued Perry should be denied special treatment. ”Mr. Perry should not be treated any differently than any other citizen of the State of Texas who is charged with committing felony crimes and who is obligated to be at all court settings,” the brief says. ”From carpenters to lawyers to judges accused of anything from tickets to federal felonies, all are expected to appear in court.”
McCrum did offer to reschedule the October 13 pretrial hearing for a date when the governor will be in town.
Perry is charged with two felonies stemming from a 2013 veto. A grand jury found that Perry abused his power when he threatened to cut funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. Perry justified the threat — and the veto — saying the public lost confidence in DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s ability to lead the unit, following her drunk driving conviction.
Aug 16th - 2:55 pm
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.”
Aug 15th - 8:15 pm
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:
Jul 23rd - 11:50 am
The fate of the Affordable Care Act is once again in the hands of the courts. A federal appeals court dealt a critical blow to a key component of Obamacare Tuesday. Then, just hours later, another panel ruled to keep the law in tact.
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we explained how the decisions could put subsidies for health insurance at risk and what that could mean for nearly 600,000 Texans counting on them.
The surge of immigrant children continues, while Congressional action is delayed another day.
We spoke to Congressman Roger Williams about whether any legislative answer has a chance of passing.
Plus, Gov. Rick Perry has officially called in the cavalry to help DPS officials at the Texas-Mexico border. Is the move a practical solution or political stunt? Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on that question and more.
Jul 21st - 8:07 pm
Gov. Rick Perry is calling for military backup to deal with the border crisis. The governor joined other state leaders Monday in announcing the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border.
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to learn more about what role the troops will play, how the operation will be funded and the legal basis for the deployment.
While state Republicans are praising the move, others are calling it a “militarization” of the border and an unnecessary step. We spoke to Denise Gilman of the UT Law School’s Immigration Clinic, who says legal — not military — resources are needed more.
Plus, a high-profile activist gets reprimanded by the Texas Ethics Commission. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg gave us the background on that story and more.
Jul 21st - 3:21 pm
Minutes after Gov. Rick Perry announced the details of a plan to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, Texas Democrats and border-area business leaders responded with criticism.
In a press release, the Texas Democratic Party characterized Perry’s decision as political posturing.
“Local law enforcement, elected officials, and faith and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley have expressed concerned about militarizing the border, the need to create a short-term humanitarian solution, and solving the long-term need for comprehensive immigration reform. Today, Governor Rick Perry ignored those voices. While those in the Valley are working hard to care for thousands of children in need and demanding we fix our broken immigration system, Governor Perry is continuing his routine of photo-op politics to further his Presidential aspirations.”
Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running to replace Perry as governor, said that National Guard troops weren’t necessary. Instead, she said the real need is for additional law enforcement personnel and reiterated her call for a special session to discuss extra funding for local law officials dealing with the surge of immigrants.
“If the federal government won’t act, Texas must and will. However, we should be deploying additional deputy sheriffs to the border like local law enforcement is calling for rather than Texas National Guard units who aren’t even authorized to make arrests. Therefore, I reiterate my call for Governor Perry to immediately convene for an emergency legislative session to provide the resources to get additional law enforcement personnel on the ground immediately.”
Meanwhile, a group of business leaders in the Rio Grande Valley area is expressing concern about what effect the presence of National Guard troops will have on the local economy. They sent out a press release asking the governor to reconsider.
“Adding a military presence to our communities will only create an inaccurate image that our safe and viable border region in the Rio Grande Valley is dangerous, and that the problem is not presently being managed, which is not the case. This erroneous impression can harm our attempts to recruit new businesses. We respectfully ask the governor to rescind his orders to send the National Guard to the border.”
The group is made up of business leaders of the Rio Grande Valley and the Rio South Texas Economic Council. They pointed out new reports from the White House, which show that the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has dropped from 355 per day in June to about 150 children apprehended in the first two weeks of July.
Jul 11th - 7:05 pm
After a rough week for the University of Texas’ leadership, we sat down with Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune, Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News, and Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle to decode how regents, lawmakers and student leaders really feel about President Bill Powers.
Powers was the center of several controversies, and his recent timeline for resignation has people talking in both the Texas government and the University of Texas school system.
Obama was the talk of the town this week when he stopped by Austin. Although the visit to Texas was originally just for fundraising, a large portion was shared with Gov. Rick Perry, who managed to get a meeting with the president over the recent crisis along the border. Our Reporter Roundtable looked at the politics behind the visit.
While efforts to increase funding are stalled, nonprofit organizations are picking up the slack when it comes to caring for the thousands of immigrant children detained at Texas’ southern border. The organizations, including Roy Maas Youth Alternatives and RAICES, offer shelter and basic needs to the children affected.
Plus, we checked in on the grand jury hearing looking into whether Gov. Perry abused his powers last session, when he threatened to defund the state’s Public Integrity Unit.
Jul 9th - 8:37 pm
The simmering conflict between the Board of Regents and UT Austin President Bill Powers has cooled down for now. University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has accepted Powers’ offer to stay on until June of 2015, after initially demanding President Powers’ resignation by Thursday. At a faculty meeting on campus, Powers addressed supporters and explained his plan moving forward.
Meanwhile, immigration issues jumped back into the spotlight Wednesday, during President Barack Obama’s visit to Texas. After touching down in Dallas, the president accompanied Gov. Rick Perry in Marine One to discuss border control and the current immigration crisis.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard the president’s response to Perry’s suggestions, and how local business leaders are framing the immigration issue.
While both sides of the political aisle are blaming each other for inaction, faith-based volunteers are already making a difference behind the scenes. Jeffery Patterson of the Texas Catholic Conference joined us to discuss the nonprofit’s outreach and his concerns for the Central American children and families crossing the border.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro’s time has finally come. In Washington D.C., Mayor Castro was officially confirmed as Housing and Urban Development Secretary. The Senate voted 71-26 to appoint Castro to the position.
We checked in from San Antonio, where Castro talked about his and the city’s political future. Plus, Harvey Kronberg from The Quorum Report sat down with us to review all the day’s issues, from immigration to political power games.
Jun 20th - 7:30 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the latest twist in the long-running court battle over how the state funds public education.
The future of the school finance case, Hillary Clinton’s book-tour crowds, and Gov. Rick Perry’s trip to California were all big topics this week. We sat down with Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune and Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle to discuss those issues and more.
Gov. Perry weighed in on immigration this week, saying more non-Mexicans are crossing over than ever before, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte insisted Mexico is our number one trading partner. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to evaluate those claims and give the official “Truth-O-Meter” ruling.