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Perry to tap his campaign account to pay legal fees

AUSTIN, TX - AUGUST 19: Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks to the press before turning himself in to authorities at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on August 19, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Perry was indicted last Friday on felony charges of abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will tap his campaign account to pay for his legal defense against felony charges that he abused his power and tried to coerce a public official to resign.

The decision comes after his attorneys initially said they would be compensated in part from state taxpayer money.

"Further legal bills will be paid for with campaign funds," Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in an e-mail Thursday. "This is an assault on the Constitution, and we don't want it to be an assault on the taxpayers as well.​"

The Texas Tribune reported that Perry had more than $4 million in his campaign account at the end of June, and that he has spent about $80,000 in taxpayer funds so far on legal fees to fight his criminal charges. Perry is stepping down at the end of his current term as governor.

The governor has assembled a high-profile legal team that includes Ben Ginsberg, George W. Bush's Florida recount attorney.

Perry pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he abused the power of his office when he vetoed funding to a state anti-corruption agency that operates under the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry made good on a threat to veto $7.5 million after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (D) refused to resign after 2013 a drunk driving arrest.

Perry is in Washington Thursday delivering remarks on border security and immigration at a conservative think tank. He is headed to New Hampshire to address conservative activists on Friday and Saturday.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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