Texas Democrats are outraged that Gov. Rick Perry is threatening to veto a portion of the state budget unless embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg steps down.
This spring, Lehmberg was arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in which her blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.
The governor’s office confirmed that Perry is considering a veto of a portion of the state’s budget bill that funds the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates government entities and is headed up by the Travis County district attorney.
"The governor is going through the budget line by line right now and as it relates specifically to the Public Integrity Unit, he’s got great concern about the integrity of that unit," said Rich Parsons at the governor's office.
Attorney Gilbert Hinojosa, chairman for the Texas Democratic Party, said the governor has a hidden agenda when comes to the ouster of the Travis County DA.
"Obviously he wants to put someone in this department that he appoints because the Public Integrity Unit from the Travis County District Attorney’s Office is involved in investigating ethical issues with respect to state agencies, many of which involve conduct that is initiated through actions of the governor of the State of Texas," Hinojosa said.
One of those more recent investigations was of the state Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
Lehmberg has admitted her faults, but is very clear that she does not intend to resign. A veto by the governor would cut off $7.5 million budgeted for the Public Integrity Unit.