AUSTIN -- Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is facing growing criticism Thursday morning from both Democrats and fellow Republicans.
The state's second-in-command made a call to North Texas police earlier this month, trying to get a relative out of jail. Some say he abused his power in making that call.
It happened on Aug. 3 around 6:30 p.m. That evening officers at the Allen Police Department arrested the wife of Dewhurst's nephew on a shoplifting charge. According to phone records, by 10:30 p.m. Dewhurst was on the phone, trying to get her out.
"I want to speak to the most senior officer you have where you are right now. My name is David Dewhurst, I'm the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Texas,” said Dewhurst in his call to police.
"I'd like to find out what I need to do to get her out of jail, post bond, whatever,” explained Dewhurst.
His call to the Allen Police Department lasted approximately 10 minutes. During the call Dewhurst asked for the cell phone number of a judge in the area.
"Can you give me the cell phone numbers of the county judge there so I can call either he or she and talk?” asked Dewhurst. “What do I need to do in order to not circumvent, follow the law, because this is ridiculous."
The officer declines to release any additional numbers to Dewhurst. Allen police say the officer acted professionally.
“He knew who he was talking to obviously and he didn't handle it any different than he would have for any other citizen," said Allen PD spokesperso, Sgt. John Felty.
A spokesperson for Dewhurst says the lieutenant governor never broke the law and described the phone call as something any caring family member would do for a relative.
Others are criticizing the call. Democrats, including Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.
“Our political leaders are not above the rest of Texans, nor should they expect to be treated so,” said Hinojosa in a written statement. “Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans.”
Republican State Senator Dan Patrick is also criticizing the call.
“The fact that David Dewhurst believes he and his family are above the law is the height of arrogance and recklessness,” said Patrick in a written statement. “This blatant abuse of power would be stunning coming from any elected official. However it is particularly disturbing coming from the Lieutenant Governor of Texas."
Patrick is challenging Dewhurst for the lt. governor’s seat in the next GOP primary.