The special prosecutor assigned to investigate whether Gov. Rick Perry and his staff committed any criminal acts when he vetoed the state’s public integrity unit budget has said publicly he has some major concerns about the governor’s actions.
San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum has been tasked with investigating whether Perry violated any of the state’s criminal code and abused his authority when he withheld $7.5 million of state funds from the Texas public integrity unit, a group in charge of investigating political corruption.
Speaking to the Austin-American Statesman, McCrum said what he has found thus far is “concerning.”
McCrum told the Statesman:
“I cannot elaborate on what exactly is concerning me, but I can tell you I am very concerned about certain aspects of what happened here,”
He also told the paper that his concerns point to Perry and his staff specifically.
Craig McDonald, director of the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice, the group that originally filed the criminal complainant, said they suggested the governor broke laws pertaining to coercion, abuse of his office and bribery.
“The prosecutor may indeed be putting the facts of the case into a different context and looking at different statutes,”McDonald said.
Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said Perry did nothing out of the ordinary.
“As he’s done every session that’s he’s been governor, Gov. Perry exercised his constitutional veto authority through line-item vetos in the budget,” Nashed said.
But it’s not the veto that the special prosecutor has taken issue with, it was a threat made by Perry that if the head of the Texas public integrity unit, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, didn’t resign over her drunk driving conviction, he would withhold the office’s state budget.
McCrum will present his findings to a special grand jury in Travis County next month.