Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is facing criticism after calling the Allen Police Department in an attempt to help a family member who’d been arrested.
As was first reported by the NBC affiliate in Dallas, Dewhurst personally contacted a police sergeant in an effort to assist his nephew’s wife, who’d been jailed for shoplifting from a Kroger’s grocery store.
Police released the audio recording of the call Wednesday night. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst can be heard identifying himself.
“I just got a call from my step-sister, whose daughter in-law, Ellen Beavers, was arrested. I think, this is me, on a mistaken charge,” Dewhurst said in the recording. ”If you would explain to me, sergeant, what I need to do, to arrange getting her out of jail this evening and you can proceed with whatever you think is proper."
While most everyone understands doing what they can to help out a family member, St. Edward's University Associate Professor of Political Science Brian Smith says more is expected from elected officials.
“There's a certain level of trust that we expect when we elect somebody and one is that they will follow all the rules no matter what," Smith said. “When you make phone calls like this for shoplifting, it shows that you're violating that trust."
Smith says at the very least, it's a self-inflicted political wound.
"He is a guy whose political career is on the decline and this might help move it along," he said,
Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine released a statement, saying:
“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.”
The Texas Democratic Party is also accusing Dewhurst of abusing the office of the lieutenant governor. TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released this statement via email:
“Once again Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans. His call to police shows a clear attempt to use his political position for influence, intimidation and preferential treatment. That’s just not how things work in Texas. 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 Lt. Governor, and highlights the failure of leadership by those presently in power.”