June 11, 2004
Abbott rules in favor of Earle

The poor Texas GOP can't even get its own Attorney General to cut them some slack in the TAB/TRM grand jury investigations.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, has ruled that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle does not have to publicly disclose details of his grand jury investigation into 2002 Republican campaign finance activities.

Earle is investigating whether the Texas Association of Business and a political committee called Texans for a Republican Majority violated state law by using corporate money to pay for candidate-related campaign activities. TRM was founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

In a pair of extensive rulings, Abbott said Earle does not have to comply with most of the open records requests filed by Texas Republican Chairman Tina Benkiser and Texas Association of Business attorney Andy Taylor.

Rosemary Lehmberg, Earle's chief assistant, said much of what Taylor and Benkiser had requested was released to them. Lehmberg said the information Earle did not want to release related directly to the investigation.

"We withheld only information we believed would compromise the investigation," Lehmberg said.

Taylor and Benkiser had hit Earle's office with numerous open records requests in March and April in an effort to show the Democratic district attorney's investigation is politically motivated.

Abbott said several records indicating telephone calls to members of the news media and some desk calendars must be released.

But he said Earle can keep private information regarding his grand jury investigation, records indicating the hiring of an outside lawyer in the case, the personal cell phone records of his prosecutors and his county cell phone because Earle is a member of a law enforcement agency.

Let us hear no more bull about partisan witch hunts.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 11, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

Greg may be an ambitious guy, but he's very smart and very ethical. This is not the first time he has ruled against members of his party.

Posted by: Patrick on June 11, 2004 9:45 AM

Once again, the fanatics of the Texas Republican Party show us their true colors. Can you imagine the nerve(arrogance, stupidity, you choose) to file open records requests in order to obtain the prosecutor's evidence in a criminal investigation? Apparently their lawyers didn't do too well in their criminal justice and rules of evidence classes in law school - maybe they had to attend a Federalist Society meeting instead.

Posted by: Dennis on June 11, 2004 3:20 PM