The Brief: Texas Headlines for Aug. 22, 2013

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Jan. 16, 2013
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Jan. 16, 2013

The Big Conversation

A flood of criticism rained down on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst after the disclosure of a controversial phone call on Wednesday.

In a recording of an Aug. 3 call, which was originally obtained by NBC DFW and released yesterday, Dewhurst is heard contacting the Allen Police Department to ask how to get a relative out of jail. 

He explains that his nephew's wife, whom he describes as the "sweetest woman in the world," has been arrested on a "mistaken" shoplifting charge.

"If you would explain to me, sergeant, what I need to do to arrange for getting her out of jail this evening so that you can proceed with whatever you think … that is proper," Dewhurst says. "I’ve known this lady for 30 years of my life."

 

He goes on: "Sergeant, you don’t know me. I am every year the No. 1 pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas, the No. 1 pick. I’m a supporter of you, and everyone in law enforcement. I want you to do whatever is the proper thing."

Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine said the lieutenant governor made deliberate attempts during the call to ensure that he wasn't asking the police to break any rules or violate protocol.

"David acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece while reiterating multiple times in the full conversation that law enforcement follow their normal protocols and procedures," Considine said.

Dewhurst's foes, however, wasted no time seizing on the phone call.

"The fact that David Dewhurst believes he and his family are above the law is the height of arrogance and recklessness," state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Houston Republican challenging Dewhurst for lieutenant governor in 2014, said in a statement. "This blatant abuse of power would be stunning coming from any elected official. However, it is particularly disturbing coming from the lieutenant governor of Texas."

Added Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa: "Our political leaders are not above the rest of Texans, nor should they expect to be treated so. Dewhurst has further disrespected the office of the lieutenant governor, and highlights the failure of leadership by those presently in power."

Listen to the full audio of the phone call below, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News
Culled

•    UT regents expected to elect new chairman (Austin American-Statesman): "University of Texas System regents are expected to elect Paul L. Foster as their chairman on Thursday, opening a new and perhaps less rocky chapter in the governing board’s relationship with lawmakers, alumni and the Austin flagship."

•    Defending Himself, Nidal Hasan Rests Fort Hood Case With No Witnesses (The Associated Press): "The soldier on trial for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood rested his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses on testifying in his own defense. Maj. Nidal Hasan is acting as his own attorney but told the judge that he wouldn’t be putting up a defense. About five minutes after proceedings began, the judge asked Hasan how he wanted to proceed. He answered: 'The defense rests.'"

•    Array of State Lawmakers Create Coalition, Endorse Proposition 6 (The Dallas Morning News): "A group of 151 state lawmakers have joined a coalition to push voters to pass Proposition 6, a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot that would put $2 billion from the state’s savings account toward building water projects. The 'leadership team,' of bipartisan constitution, is part of the Water Texas Political Action Committee, headed by House Speaker, Joe Straus, R-San Antonio."

•    Catholic Push to Overhaul Immigration Goes to Pews (The New York Times): "Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants."

Quote to Note: "Dew's call to Allen PD sounds like Anchorman Ron Burgundy: 'I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. People know me.'" — Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who is running for lieutenant governor against Dewhurst, in a tweet on Wednesday

Must-Read

 

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