Ralph Barrera/The Associated Press

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry came under withering criticism Friday after using his veto to eliminate two bipartisan ethics bills and erase all state funding for the prosecutor’s unit that is investigating his prized cancer research fund.

With a total of 24 vetoes and line-item cuts from the budget, Perry elicited howls of protest. In addition to disappointed public watchdogs, Perry also prompted outcry from Democrats by bouncing a bill that would have allowed women to sue over wage discrimination.

Under current law, upheld by the Texas Supreme Court last year, women who are unfairly paid must sue within 180 days of their wages being set — not when they discover that others are earning more for the same work.

But the biggest blows from the governor landed on efforts to force greater transparency, report where politicians get their money and investigate potential criminal wrongdoing.

“Perry’s office is an ethical black hole. Ethics reform goes in. Nothing comes out,” said Craig McDonald of Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit campaign reform group.


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