Rick Perry: The Rise and Fall of a Boy From Paint Creek

Photo by Ed Schipul
The "we gotcha" moment might be coming for Perry.
After the news of a grand jury's seating and Rick Perry's hiring of defense lawyer David Botsford, the word on the street is, "What took you so long?"

The last time a Texas governor faced possible indictment was almost 100 years ago. In 1917, James "Pa" Ferguson's past shady dealings, which were common knowledge among the well-connected, finally came to light via a quarrel with the University of Texas about removing faculty that "Pa" disliked. When the Board of Regents refused to do Ferguson's bidding, he vetoed practically the entire appropriation for the university.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

Just like Ferguson, Rick Perry allegedly attempted to coerce Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg to leave office and upon her refusal, he vetoed $7.5 million in funds to the state Public Integrity Unit. The kicker being that the TCPIU was in the process of investigating him for his laundry list of misdeeds of his 14 years in office.
It went to a grand jury last year, but that panel's term expired.

If this particular Perry-domino tumbles, a whole line of them will follow. The Texas Tribune is investigating his misuse of funds over TexasOne, a quasi-governmental agency, the governor's chief marketing of "Texas is open for business." It's common knowledge that he operates an employment agency for his friends and major contributors, and Perry's influence in Texas will be felt for years to come as a result.

But the list of trespasses is growing.

From weakening the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to please the energy lobbyists and nuclear waste hawkers, to the state's water boards, to possible misuse of funds in CPRIT and the TETF (for which others took the "rap"), the hijinks of King Perry's court and his lieutenants get increasingly deeper, murkier and more malodorous than a cow pasture every day. So deep, in fact, that it could implicate a certain Attorney General who wishes to be Governor.

The bovine excrement will really hit the fan when voters get to view the emails of Texas legislators. Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued an order late last week for Texas to turn over legislators' communications because they may reveal a discriminatory motive in the 2011 Texas voter ID law.

Will all of this rich Texas dirt hurt Perry's 2016 Presidential aspirations? It could be, if the bridge drama of New Jersey's Chris Christie goes badly. Once the political mobs get a whiff of a candidate's blood, they become insatiable. One bright spot is that it may relieve the RNC of some work because the vetting for the GOP's 2016 presidential field is being shared with grand juries.

All of us enjoy the familiar Horatio Alger tale, in which an industrious, fresh-faced boy from small-town America finds success. Rick Perry's tale is more like an epilogue to that Horatio fiction -- a Texas spin-off of Citizen Kane, sans Rosebud.

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Recent Chron articles on this topic seem to focus on Perry's "authority" to veto funding in order to remove the disgraced *leader* of the TCPIU, ignoring the fact that the veto kills the whole agency.  The articles leave out the part about "The kicker being that the TCPIU was in the process of investigating him for his laundry list of misdeeds of his 14 years in office." (In particular the disgraced CPRIT Perry cronies and their misuse of taxpayer billions.)   

Yes, absolute power, etc.  But also the fact that confidence and competence are inversely related.  Perry's confidence being infinite (President?!?!) ... do the math.


I rememeber this.  Having Perry leave office apparently makes him fair game.

Deena Carstens Munn
Deena Carstens Munn

Love this photo Walter Ulrich and love the Houston Technology Center !

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

i'm glad ol' slick rick is [finally!] being investigated for corruption, but y'all are leaving out a pretty important fact about the DA: [from another article] "Perry cut funding to the unit during the last legislative session when Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down from office after being convicted of drunk driving." yay! everybody sucks!


Well written, but I caution you to beware excess optimism such as "possibly implicate (the AG)." If you have fire, then show it, but don't just promise smoke, please.

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