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The Brief: Aug. 21, 2014

Now that Gov. Rick Perry is ramping up his legal team to fight a pair of felony indictments, he has also changed course on how to pay for his counsel — the bills will now come to his campaign account.

Gov. Rick Perry leaves the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center in Austin after his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Now that Gov. Rick Perry is ramping up his legal team to fight a pair of felony indictments, he has also changed course on how to pay for his counsel. His spokesman told the Tribune's Jay Root on Wednesday night that Perry's attorneys will now be paid out of the governor's campaign account, which has a balance of more than $4 million. Until now, taxpayer dollars were being used to pay Perry's legal expenses.

"This is an assault on the Constitution," Perry spokesman Felix Browne said. "We don't want it to be an assault on the taxpayers as well."

This latest development comes as Perry sets his sights out of state for the weekend. As the San Antonio Express-News' Peggy Fikac writes for the Thursday papers:

Turning the focus from his legal troubles to his effort to rebound from his disastrous bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nod, Perry will speak on border security and foreign policy today at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Then it's off to New Hampshire on Friday, the day his arraignment had been set before he waived it. Perry is scheduled to attend a business leaders luncheon and GOP reception in the early-presidential-voting state.

He'll stay over Saturday for a GOP picnic and a Republican rally with John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor who was President George H.W. Bush's chief of staff.

The Austin American-Statesman's Tim Eaton reports on the anger from some conservatives that one of the Perry grand jurors apparently attended the Democratic state convention in June and served on the Rules Committee.

A group called Media Trackers, which says it is a “conservative non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting accountability in the media and government,” said in an online article that numerous posts by Chalmers on Facebook “make clear that she is a partisan Democratic activist.”

Chalmers couldn’t be reached. Perry’s office and his lawyer didn’t return calls and emails.

In other related Perry indictment news, we found out that Anita Perry couldn't stand by her man for one simple reason — she'd just had foot surgery. And Wednesday's court documents in which Perry waived arraignment contained one surprise — his signature did not match the one we're used to seeing from bill signing ceremonies. The reason? A Perry spokeswoman said, "That's just how he signs his full name."

Trib Must-Reads

Glitches Threaten ACA Coverage for Some Immigrants, by Alexa Ura

Meet Lawyers on Both Sides of the Perry Indictment, by Christine Ayala, Becca Aaronson and Todd Wiseman

Government Salaries Explorer, by Dan Hill, Ryan Murphy, Alex Duner, Travis Swicegood and Daniel Craigmile


State closes foster homes after probe finds kids died from neglect, Houston Chronicle

Plan for UT System’s downtown Austin offices grows to $133.1 million, Austin American-Statesman

Chasnoff: Feud is long-running between Reed and McCrum, San Antonio Express-News

Wendy Davis wants to eliminate statute of limitations for rape, sexual battery, The Dallas Morning News

Online access to sensitive court records sparks concern, Houston Chronicle

Jones: Stopping border 'invasion', maintaining local control over water among priorities, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Drought putting species protection plan to the test, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

"I feel like his smile is genuine because he didn't want to look dopey. ... A mug shot is not a red carpet event; you are dealing with your reputation."

— Style consultant Ashley Martini, appraising Gov. Rick Perry's instantly viral mug shot

Today in TribTalk

Why I welcome the National Guard to my town, by Ruben O. Villarreal

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With UT System Regent Wallace Hall, on Sept. 4 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri, on Sept. 10 at The Austin Club

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, which runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Featuring 10 tracks, 44 sessions and over 200 speakers, this weekend is not to be missed!

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Health care Politics Greg Abbott Rick Perry Wendy Davis