The Governor’s Office has responded to my request for a chronology concerning the question, What did Rick Perry know and when did he know it? This is their version, which was provided in an interview.
1. The Texas Rangers started an investigation in February 05. Less than a week later, TYC’s executive director informed the TYC board of the investigation.
2. The Rangers’ report was never given to the governor’s office. The report was given to TYC. The governor’s office was not legally entitled to receive a copy because the investigation was ongoing.
3. The TYC staff told the board that the offenders had quit their jobs and that the case had been referred to the appropriate law enforcement authority, the Ward County district attorney, who did not pursue the case due to a lack of resources. The attorney general has concurrent jurisdiction and could have assisted in the prosecution, but the district attorney must ask for help.
3. The agency’s general counsel conducted an internal investigation. The report went through several versions, the fourth of which was completed in July/August 05 and was held internally at the agency. The board and the governor did not know about this report. (There have been published allegations that an earlier version of this report was altered.)
4. In November 06, Sylvester Turner’s office notified the governor that the Ward County district attorney’s office had never pursued the case.
5. The governor’s office did not learn of the general counsel’s internal report until they read about it in the newspapers. It was suppressed internally by the staff.
6. There is no evidence of board misconduct in the case.
My purpose in writing this item is not to debate the governor’s version but rather to get it on the record. However, I do want to refer readers to Patti Hart’s post of yesterday, “Cuckoo’s Nest Revisited,” in which she reports that Senator Juan Hinojosa, who conducted hearings into the allegations about TYC, told her that a Perry staffer had the Rangers’ report and had sat on it for a year.
One other matter came up in the interview: my characterization of Jay Kimbrough, whom Perry appointed as a special master to clean up TYC, as a Perry “crony.” The governor’s office says that Kimbrough is highly qualified and that for me to characterize him as a crony indicates my belief that he is not. My position, which is validated by my dictionary, is that a crony is a “close friend”–that someone can be both qualified and a crony. I do believe Kimbrough is qualified. I also believe that a former staffer who acted as a political operative during the redistricting controversy to help track down Democrats can fairly be described as a crony. If you don’t want to be acused of cronyism, appoint someone whose independence cannot be questioned. If I worked for the governor, however, I would point out to me that William Safire’s Political Dictionary contains an entry for “Government by Crony,” which is defined as “an Administration [in this case, Truman’s] in which advisers qualify not by experience or talent but by their longtime friendship with the Chief Executive.”