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Rick Perry's indictment: The real abuse

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Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, 3:24 p.m.

“All politics is local” was the classic phrase coined by Byron Price, bureau chief for The Associated Press in Washington in 1932. In Texas, an embattled Democrat county prosecutor has convinced a Travis County grand jury that “All politics is criminal.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the departing Republican governor who's exploring another presidential bid, was indicted Friday for allegedly abusing his power. He's accused of vetoing $7.5 million from the budget of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's public integrity unit. If convicted, Mr. Perry could be imprisoned for life.

Perry says he used his veto power legally to pressure Ms. Lehmberg to resign for conduct unbecoming a prosecutor in the aftermath of her notorious drunken driving arrest. Critics say Perry wanted to shut down an investigation into a medical research institute, favored by the governor with grants.

But the Travis County DA's office has a long history of political prosecutions against Republicans. Think of the ultimately failed prosecutions of Kay Bailey Hutchison and Tom DeLay. Now it's targeting Rick Perry — for engaging in what amounts to political public service.

So egregious is DA Lehmberg's case that even liberals are denouncing the indictment. Yes, there's certainly an abuse of power here. But it's Rosemary Lehmberg's, not Rick Perry's.

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