What the DPS Doesn't Want You to See

Why does it insist it can't release video footage of a Capitol hallway to The Texas Observer? We can only imagine.

What the DPS Doesn't Want You to See
Illustration by Craig Staggs
Is it its penchant for flashy Broadway musicals? Maybe its blood oath to protect the Phan­tom of the Capitol? Or perhaps it simply wants to fight for its right to party in private. Whatever the reason, the Texas Department of Public Safety insists it can't release video footage of a Capitol hallway to The Texas Observer – even though Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has signed off on the release as consistent with open-records laws. The Observer had filed a records request, seeking two hours of security video recorded in a corridor behind the House chamber in May 2005, on a day the House was debating a school-voucher proposal supported by San Antonio conservative moneybags James Lein­in­ger. The word around the Capitol that day had Leininger in and around the corridor (ordinarily off-limits to lobbyists while the House is in session), warning legislators they would face a Leininger-bankrolled opponent in the next primary election if they didn't vote the Leininger way on vouchers. What should have been a simple open-records request soon escalated after DPS refused to provide the video, claiming its release would hinder security efforts. Despite losing its bid before the AG and in the court of public opinion, the DPS soldiers on – so far spending more than $160,000 in taxpayer funds to defend its position. Kind of makes you wonder what they don't want you to see, eh?

What the DPS Doesn't Want You to See
Illustration by Craig Staggs
What the DPS Doesn't Want You to See
Illsutration by Craig Staggs

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Department of Public Safety, The Texas Observer, Greg Abbott, James Leininger

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