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May 21, 2003

TX Faceoff- Farce to Coverup

Well, the Texas faceoff between "Killer Ds" and Tom Delay is moving from Saturday Night Live material to Watergate, as a coverup of misuse of law enforcement is boiling over.

Texas Department of Public Safety captains were ordered to destroy all records gathered in the search for Democratic legislators who fled the state in a successful effort to prevent a redistricting bill from passing, according to a published report.

The one-paragraph order, sent by e-mail, was obtained Tuesday by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram under the Texas Open Records Act...

The order, addressed to "Captains," stated: "Any notes, correspondence, photos, etc. that were obtained pursuant to the absconded House of Representative members shall be destroyed immediately. No copies are to be kept."

It was signed by the commander of the DPS Special Crimes Service, L.C. Marshall, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

"That's unbelievable," state Rep. Kevin Bailey, chairman of the House General Investigating Committee, which is looking into law enforcement's role in the search. He was one of the 51 Democrats who fled to Ardmore, Okla., during the walkout...

According to the newspaper, the e-mail destruction order was forwarded to DPS Lt. Will Crais.

Federal officials and published reports have said Crais called for federal help in locating Laney's plane. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said it was led to believe the plane might have crashed.

It's funny. The GOP wants complete access to emails and information about the public, but when they abuse that authority, they try to prevent public access to information about their actions.

I'm actually not as much of a privacy freak as some civil libertarians but conversely, if the government is going to use "Homeland Security" as an excuse to hunt down political opponents, they better keep records of their actions so the public can judge at election time if their actions were inappropriate.

Otherwise, the Texas GOP leadership should be looking at jail time for obstruction of justice and impeding a federal investigation.

Posted by Nathan at May 21, 2003 10:12 AM