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Readers React
Opinion Readers React
Readers React

What Rick Perry did was extortion, not politics

Your editorial misses the point. ("Rick Perry indictment: Politicians' spats don't belong in courts," Editorial, Aug. 18)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry threatened to veto funding for Travis County Dist. Atty. Rosemary Lehmberg's Public Integrity Unit unless she resigned. When she refused, Perry vetoed the funding. You say that since the governor of Texas has the right to veto spending, this dispute is a political one.

Of course Perry has the right to veto spending. But when he turns the veto into a threat that could end up costing an employee her job, he's crossed the line into extortion.

No one is questioning a governor's authority to veto bills. But when the vetoes are used as threats against someone's livelihood, a serious breach has been committed. Evidently the Travis County grand jury agreed, as it returned an indictment against Perry.

By your reasoning, if President Obama threatened to veto a bill unless House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) resigned, that would simply be a "political dispute."

Matthew Singerman, Newbury Park


To the editor: Dignity and fundamental fairness must characterize the criminal justice system. As an active Democrat and a lawyer who practices criminal defense, I cannot condone the misuse of the justice system to indict someone who is not guilty of the crimes in question.

Those of us with a generally liberal worldview have always championed protecting the rights of the accused and shielding innocent people from unwarranted criminal prosecution. We cannot abandon such universally applicable concerns in service of a politically motivated prosecution.

Your editorial properly recognizes that Perry was being political, not criminal. Fair-minded civil libertarians must urge the dismissal of these charges.

Edward Tabash, Beverly Hills


To the editor: What Perry did was wrong. Political coercion is abhorrent. Was it criminal? No, but I'm glad he was indicted, because I, and I'm certain most Americans, was not aware of this bad behavior.

A fitting penalty for his actions will be for him to have to go through a trial to clear himself. If this sidetracks his higher ambitions, that's a good thing.

Ron Garber, Duarte

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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