The Austin Chronicle

Shit or Shinola? Dewhurst Puts His Foot in It

By Richard Whittaker, July 26, 2013, News

Just when you thought Texas politics could not get any sillier: First, there was Tampongate, when Texas Department of Public Safety officers were instructed to seize all feminine hygiene products from women entering the Senate gallery during the House Bill 2 abortion debate. Now Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has found himself neck-deep in what can politely be described as Crapgate – and in doing so, has seemingly thrown the DPS under the bus.

Or under the outhouse.

The Republican noise machine has been agog over claims that protestors planned to throw urine and feces at lawmakers in the debate, and were allegedly caught trying to smuggle their secreted projectiles into the Senate gallery. In a July 12 press release, DPS brass claimed that troopers found "one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint." Yet bizarrely, there were no arrests, nor has DPS produced said bottles. Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, contacted DPS Director Steven McCraw and asked him: Where are they? In response, McCraw told Howard that the materials were not seized. Instead, he wrote, "a visitor had the option of storing the items elsewhere or discarding them in trash boxes."

Dewhurst has backed up this claim that there were jars, and he knows this because he saw them. In a July 18 interview with Waco Tea Party President Toby Marie Walker, he claimed that the poop-slinging plot had been launched by "individuals with the International Socialist movement." It was Dewhurst who ordered the seizure of tampons and demanded the extra checkpoints, and he claimed that, during the inspections, he walked over to where DPS was searching bags. Dewhurst claimed, "They were getting water bottles out and smelling and they had urine in it. And there were bags they had set aside and were going to put in the trash and throw it out, of feces."

So, let's back up a little here. According to Dewhurst and the DPS, multiple people – or one person with an extremely large bag – managed to get 19 bottles of human excreta through security at the main doors to the Capitol and it was only when they went through a second checkpoint, at the Gallery doors, that anyone noticed. Moreover, in spite of being confronted with the stinking evidence of a plan to muck up the proceedings, DPS didn't arrest anyone – they just told them to take their poop home with them. Howard told the Chronicle, "It doesn't seem plausible." Moreover, reporters on the spot failed to find a single trooper who knew of any such contraband – and nobody even noticed, let alone photographed Dewhurst outside the Senate.

Then there's the question of how HB 2 protester Jaime Leigh Tilley got chains into the Senate gallery and secured herself to the railing? How, Walker asked, could she have gotten the chains through the Capitol security? Simple, said Dewhurst. Either she had stashed them in the chamber in the days before the debate, or she had someone with a concealed handgun license carry the chains in for her. Dewhurst said, "If you have a concealed handgun license, you don't need to go through the X-ray."

So, to sum up again: Either there is a massive hole in security at the Capitol, or Dewhurst is saying that DPS failed to secure the building. Calls and emails to both Dewhurst and DPS requesting clarification on all these issues were not returned. In fact, Howard said, there has been radio silence from Dewhurst ever since his Tea Party outburst. If he's going to make such a wild claim, she said, "He needs to just verify that."

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