A theory floated by Texas Democrats about the recent indictment of Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been proved false by a Travis County investigator. Perry was accused by a grand jury of abusing the power of his office when he vetoed funds for the state-funded Public Integrity Unit overseen by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. The district attorney had publicly disgraced herself by earning a DUI citation and, when officers detained her, harassing and physically abusing them.
Democrats have suggested that it wasn’t just Lehmberg’s bad behavior, but Perry’s concerns about a PIU investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, that led to his veto of funding for the PIU.
“The fact is that Perry could have had another motive for gutting the Public Integrity Unit. The PIU was investigating the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), a multi-billion dollar state funded institution with a record of misconduct and graft,” reads a blog post from DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee on the Texas Democratic Party’s website.
But Perry had nothing to do with the PIU’s investigation of CPRIT according to the man who was the lead investigator in the case for the Public Integrity Unit.
Chris Walling, in a signed affidavit dated August 20, 2014 says that he was the main investigator in the CPRIT probe that Democrats are talking about. “I was the primary investigator for the investigation involving the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). My job was to interview individuals, issue subpoenas and gather factual information to see if there had been any criminal violations,” he wrote.
“At no time during the CPRIT investigation was Governor Rick Perry or anyone from the Governor’s office a target. At no time did I ever obtain evidence that suggested any wrongdoing on behalf of Governor Rick Perry or the Governor’s office,” Walling explains.
Walling says he was interviewed by Special Prosecutor Mike McCrum, who secured the indictment of Perry, and told McCrum that there was no evidence Perry did anything wrong with respect to CPRIT. “I made it clear to him [McCrum] that there was absolutely no evidence even suggesting wrongdoing on the part of Governor Perry” he writes in the affidavit.
The CPRIT case, according to the Texas Tribune, eventually resulted in an indictment against one of the organization’s officers.
With Walling vigorously explaining that CPRIT did not involve any wrongdoing by Perry, the Democratic argument about Perry’s alleged motivation for vetoing PIU funding falls apart completely.