Southeast Texas Record Feb. 17, 2015, 12:27pm


Texas may be a Republican state, but there are parts of Texas that aren't safe for Republicans. Travis County is one of them.

Tom DeLay was indicted by a grand jury in Travis County in 2005 on charges of conspiracy to violate election law. He was convicted in 2011, six years later, but the state court of appeals overturned the verdict in 2013. A year later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the reversal by a vote of 8-1.

DeLay spent a decade defending himself against charges that had no merit to begin with. His only crime, it seemed, was being an influential Republican.

Gov. Rick Perry was indicted by a Travis County grand jury in 2014, on charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

That public servant was none other than Travis County District Attorney Rosemary “Loopy” Lehmberg, whose alcohol-fueled protest of her April 2013 arrest for drunk driving became a viral video. Despite her drunken denials of drunkenness, Loopy registered a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit and eventually pled guilty.

Not unreasonably, Gov. Perry asked the scofflaw law enforcement official to resign. When she refused, he threatened to veto funding for her public corruption unit and then did so.

Like Tom DeLay's case, Rick Perry's only crime seems to be that he is an influential Republican.

To avoid having their flimsy case against Perry dismissed, prosecutors have tried to take to heart helpful advice of Judge Bert Richardson and they amended the two-count indictment so as to make it seem less like the baseless partisan attack that we think it is.

The indictment of Perry is Loopy Lehmberg's revenge – a time-tested and typically political way of trying to bring down a prominent opponent, in this case one with presidential aspirations.

Perry undoubtedly will be acquitted in the end, but the goal of his Democratic adversaries really isn't to convict him anyway. The goal is to destroy his career and remove him as a threat.

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