HOUSTON - Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is staying out of the public spotlight following the release of a potentially damaging phone call he made to the Allen Police Department.
Dewhurst placed the call after finding out that his niece, Ellen Bevers, was arrested and accused of stealing $57 worth of merchandise from a Kroger in the Dallas area.
At the very beginning of the call, the second highest ranking elected official in Texas identified himself to the dispatcher who answered.
"This is David Dewhurst, the Lieutenant Governor of the state of Texas, and I want to talk to the senior officer who is there at your department right now," said Dewhurst.
Dewhurst's campaign spokesman, Travis Considine, released a statement Thursday afternoon 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 Lt. Governor is up for re-election and some of his fellow Republicans who plan to challenge him in the primary were quick to criticize his actions.
"This blatant abuse of power would be stunning from any elected official. However, it is particularly disturbing coming from the Lt. Governor of Texas," said a statement from State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), who says he plans to challenge Dewhurst in the primary.
However, the chair of Rice University's Political Science Department doesn't believe the Lt. Governor crossed any ethical lines.
"From a political perspective though, it wasn't a good idea because it creates and image of somebody trying to utilize their political position for a personal benefit and that's never a good idea in politics," said Mark Jones.