Public Integrity Unit Will Be Left Out of Texas Senate Budget
The next Lieutenant Governor of Texas has announced the Senate will not restore funding to the Public Integrity Unit. The operation, based in the Travis County District Attorney's office, had its funding vetoed by Governor Rick Perry in 2013. That came after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested and spent time in jail for drunk driving.
Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick announced his plan as part of a press conference laying out Senate priorities for 2015. He offered no reason for not funding the unit, saying only that the Senate budget would not include money for it.
"Suggestions: It could go to the AG's office, a special prosecutor at the AG's office, refer back to the DA in the district that you're from, the county that you live. Again the Senators will make these decisions," Patrick said.
Lawmakers from both parties have over the years tried to limit the power of the unit that has jurisdiction over state agencies and lawmakers. Governor Rick Perry was indicted this summer on two felony counts of abuse of power in connection with the veto. That case is still in the pre-trial phase.
Revisit the timeline of Rick Perry's indictment here.