This is the clearest sign I've seen yet that Travis County DA Ronnie Earle is getting close to something in his investigation of the Texas Association of Business and Texans for a Republican Majority: Governor Perry is attacking him.
Gov. Rick Perry on Friday said the "appropriate authorities" should investigate Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for his probe into possible political misuse of corporate money to help Republican legislative candidates.
"My concern is the extraordinary leaks that have come out of the grand jury system," Perry said. "When the news media finds out about issues going on in the grand jury even before subpoenas have been delivered to people, there's something gravely wrong with that system."
Earle said there have been no leaks out of the grand jury.
"Neither this office nor the grand jury has divulged any information obtained as a result of the grand jury investigation," Earle said.
"A grand jury investigation is an inquiry into the truth. Others have an interest in determining the truth about Texas government," Earle said. " That includes the media, which aggressively pursue their own sources of information. Those sources include civil litigants, government watchdog groups and concerned citizens"
Perry did not specify what he meant by grand jury leaks, nor did he say who should investigate those leaks.
"I'm more worried about both the appearance and the actuality of impropriety that appears to be going on," Perry said. "The district attorney will need to answer those questions to the appropriate authorities."
Perry spokesman Robert Black later said the appropriate people to question Earle about the leaks would be the grand jury foreman or state District Judge Mike Lynch, who oversees the grand jury.
Note the complete emptiness of Perry's charge, by the way. He claims there have been "leaks" from the grand jury proceedings, but does he offer even a single piece of information that's been cited in any media outlet that shouldn't be known to the public? Does he claim that someone involved with the grand jury investigation has come forward with informtion of impropriety? Did he even talk to the "appropriate authorities" before shooting off his mouth? If you believe any of what he's saying, then you'll probably believe that I have in my possession a list of 57 known Communists now working in the State Department, along with the recipe for Secret Sauce.
As always, you can count on the state GOP to provide a little comic relief in these matters.
Texas Republican Chair Tina Benkiser on Thursday filed an open records request with Earle asking for all records of his office's contacts with the news media in connection to this investigation. She also sought records detailing how much money had been spent on it.
"It is widely believed that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is engaging in a baseless partisan witch hunt apparently designed solely to score political points by generating negative media coverage of Republicans," Benkiser said.
The Texas Association of Business twice last year tried to halt Earle's investigation into its political activity, but the all-Republican Texas Court of Criminal Appeals allowed Earle to move forward.