Even in the no-holds-barred world of Texas politics, the indictment of Gov.
The Public Integrity Unit has long been a thorn in Texas
There seems to be little dispute over what happened next. Eager to oust Lehmberg, Perry zeroed out the Public Integrity Unit from the 2013-14 budget, but offered to restore the funding if she stepped down. Had Lehmberg done so, Perry would have been able to name a replacement, presumably a Republican, to run the office until the general election this November. Lehmberg refused.
This is hardball politics, and it's ugly to see a governor try to superimpose his will over the local voters'. But it's not illegal. (Nor, by the way, did the budget cut end the unit's work.) And yet the complaint that led to Perry's indictment at the hands of a special prosecutor and a Travis County grand jury accused him of nothing else.
The courts certainly have a role to play in stopping officials from taking steps that are beyond the bounds of statute or the Constitution. They do not, however, belong in the middle of a fight between politicians over policy or power. If lawmakers can't muster the votes to overturn a spending veto or repeal a law they don't like, they shouldn't run to the judicial branch for help. That's just as true for Washington Republicans aggravated by the continuation of Obamacare as it is for Austin Democrats aggrieved by the governing style of Rick Perry. They should find a way to win either the debate or more elections.