October 09, 2004
Statesman sues Craddick over phone records

The Statesman has sued Tom Craddick to get his phone records during the runup to the 2003 Speaker election.

In its lawsuit, the Statesman alleges that Craddick has refused to release information in his phone records that should be available under state law and that he has too broadly interpreted state law to keep the information secret.

Under that law, as interpreted by Abbott, the Midland Republican could opt to make the records public.

Records pertaining to Craddick's race for the speaker's post have been subpoenaed by a Travis County grand jury that is looking into whether outside groups might have improperly assisted his election as speaker in 2002. Craddick has denied any wrongdoing.

"The Speaker's Office . . . is not entitled to withhold its records of its communications with corporations, associations, and other organizations and had a duty under law to provide unredacted telephone records of all communications with such entities and persons representing them or acting on behalf of them," the suit states.

Craddick also went too far in redacting other information from the records, including the city and state to which calls were placed, according to the suit.

The Statesman seeks a declaratory judgment requiring the release of information about phone calls to and from Craddick's offices between Sept. 1, 2001, and Jan. 31.

It names Abbott because he issued a letter opinion in June that allowed Craddick to decide what records to make public, instead of issuing a determination of what is public and what is not.

Craddick is reportedly in the sights of the newly-convened grand jury, which has picked up the corporate campaign contribution investigation. As noted before, he may well have reason to worry.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 09, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack