Taxpayer tab grows for Perry's defense
Gov. Rick Perry has billed taxpayers $133,000 to hire several lawyers to defend him against public corruption allegations, his office confirmed Friday.
That’s more lawyers and more state money spent than previously disclosed.
After Perry was criticized about the taxpayer expenditures, the governor’s office announced he would use campaign funds from now on to compensate his legal team.
But taxpayers have already spent $98,000 to hire Botsford & Roark, the firm of his lead criminal defense attorney David Botsford, who charges $450 an hour. Previously, state records — which take a while to show up in the government’s accounting system — showed taxpayers had spent $80,000 on Botsford's firm.
Perry’s office also spent $15,000 to hire the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts and $19,890 to hire attorney Jack Bacon. The total came to $132,890.
Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in an email that the cost of the legal fees were “associated with the grand jury case involving Gov. Perry and Governor’s Office staff.”
“The firms worked with the Governor’s Office attorneys to protect the governor’s interest during the grand jury process, including legal research, witness interviews, and dealing with the court and the prosecutor on a broad range of issues,” Nashed said.
Perry, now under criminal indictment, has said the taxpayer expenditures were appropriate because he believes the charges against him — which he says were politically motivated — stem from his duties as governor.
Asked why he decided to pay for the fees out of his campaign fund from now on, Perry said it was to stop people from having to “grouse about it.”
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/08/29/taxpayer-tab-grows-perrys-defense/.