To expand a bit on my colleague’s post, and speaking as a Texan, this has been brewing for a while. The events described– yes, they actually occurred– are now a year old, or better. The indictment involves, essentially, intimidation of the DA; they’re arguing the pressure to resign and the funding veto threat followed by the action works to intimidate a public official. That is unlawful here. But CW is correct: the Grand Jury also only hears the prosecutors evidence, and I really don’t see a Texas jury convicting a seated governor for exercising his constitutional prerogative of the line-item veto on funding. It’s possible I could be wrong about that, it’s happened before. Away back in 1917, James E. “Pa” Ferguson was impeached by the Texas House on 21 counts, including vetoing funding for the University of Texas because they refused to dismiss certain professors he found objectionable. He was convicted by the Senate on 10 of those counts and lost his seat. This is a different matter, however; this is not an impeachment, it is criminal charges brought by a prosecutor.
One of the things you are not going to read in Big Media is Travis is the Bluest county in all of Texas. It is probably the only place in Texas where such charges could have been brought. (Maybe Dallas county, but they’re not quite that blue.) In Texas, Travis County and Travis prosecutors are famous for this. It was a Travis DA who brought charges against Tom DeLay– later proved to be false and the conviction was vacated– that cost him his seat in the Congress and the Speakership in the House.
Everybody in Texas knows what happened here: The prosecutor got busted for DUI, was abusive to arresting officers (on video, no less), was tried, convicted and sentenced to 45 days in the County hotel (first offense, in Texas, is 14-180 days plus fine and suspension of license). She did about half of her time; I never did hear about how she got out. Our governor thought she should have resigned her position after having been caught out like that, and his opinion is not shared by more than about 95% of all Texans (most of the rest of whom think she should be horsewhipped and then thrown out; if not tarred, feathered and ridden out of state on a rail). When she refused, the governor vowed to defund her office, which he did. The politics of this are further complicated by the fact the specific office involved is the prosecutor’s shop who investigates political corruption in State officials. Travis is the seat of our state government, and very Blue. Since Texas has a Red government, and since those political affiliations aren’t going to change any time in the foreseeable future, electing Democrats to this post, as Travis County always does, is a major thorn in everybody’s paw.
So far this is looking more either political or woman scorned than anything real. I said Travis is probably the only place the indictment could have been brought, and I meant it. It would be easy to assemble a solidly left wing Grand Jury panel there– the prosecutor has the option to bring the charges any time she likes within the Statute of Limitations, so she could have waited until she got one– and this involves both tarnishing a potential R presidential candidate and public abuse of a feminist. I don’t have to tell anybody how a solidly left wing panel might squint a bit at the evidence to get that done. I don’t accuse them, I don’t know. But I do say it’s possible, and I do say it’s what most people in Texas think.
As for Perry’s political fortunes… Unless he’s convicted, which I believe doubtful, I don’t think it’s going to make a lot of difference. It won’t help, certainly, and the Democrats will have great fun with the attack ads for all the good it will do, but Perry’s real problem with the electorate is he’s Rick Perry. Most Republicans see him as too RINO and too establishment; Chris Christie, sort of, except without the charm and even temper of Jersey. Just about all Democrats see him as evil. So I don’t think it’s going to make a lot of difference.