AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team made what they called “a major announcement” Thursday morning during a conference call: saying an affidavit proves an investigation into the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, did not target the governor.
Two years ago, CPRIT became the focus of a financial probe involving Perry’s donors.
Because the Public Integrity Unit led that investigation, allegations have swirled that Perry’s veto of funding for the PIU was actually driven by a desire to squash the CPRIT investigation – rather than motivated by his lack of confidence in DWI-convicted Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. The PIU is run out of her office.
Perry’s attorneys say that the affidavit given to them on Wednesday by the primary investigator in that case proves otherwise.
The investigator said that no evidence in the CPRIT case suggested wrongdoing by the governor or anyone other than Jerry Cobbs, the high-ranking CPRIT official who was indicted last December.
Prosecutors criminally indicted the top state executive on charges related to $11 million in taxpayer funds that CPRIT awarded to a private company without review. CPRIT is just now emerging from that criminal investigation and national embarrassment over questionable spending. Meanwhile, some Republicans say the indictments against the governor are directly related to a PIU investigation led by a DA’s office run by Democrats – the same office that prosecuted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay, also a Republican.