Taxpayers foot bill for lawyer hired at $450 an hour in Perry veto probe

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

AUSTIN (AP) — The attorney Gov. Rick Perry hired amid a grand jury investigation into abuse of power allegations has a $450 hourly contract.

Austin attorney David Botsford is being paid with taxpayer dollars. Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said Tuesday that using state funds is appropriate since the case involves “actions by the governor while acting in his official capacity.”

A watchdog group claims Perry carried out an unlawful threat upon vetoing $7.5 million for public corruption prosecutors last summer.

The state Public Integrity Unit is under Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunken driving last year. Perry called for Lehmberg to resign and vetoed the funding when she didn’t.

His aides say Perry had the right to use his veto power.

A judge seated a grand jury Monday.

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