In the first half of this year, Perry, now a presidential candidate, tapped his Texas campaign coffers to pay just over $1 million to four law firms for "legal defense," the records show. The bills climb even higher with tens of thousands of dollars paid to a New York firm for what the Perry's campaign described as "legal defense consulting."
His state campaign had already disclosed spending more than $1 million on legal defense during the second half of last year.
The steady stream of legal fees has left Perry with roughly $1.3 million in the account, a fraction of the $4.4 million he had stockpiled a year ago. And with Perry no longer holding statewide office, very little money is flowing into the account — $685 from January through June, to be exact.
Despite the hefty legal tab, there has been little movement in the case in recent months. Perry's lawyers are currently waiting on a ruling from the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, where they are are seeking to reverse Visiting Judge Bert Richardson's decision this year not to dismiss the indictment.
A Travis County grand jury handed down the indictment almost a year ago. The case, which alleges Perry abused his power and coerced a public servant, centers on his threat to veto state funding for the public integrity unit unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg stepped down after a drunken driving arrest. At the time, Lehmberg's office housed the unit, which handles ethics complaints against public officials.
Perry is nonetheless waging an underdog bid for the White House, maintaining to voters that the case is politically motivated and will eventually fade away.