The Democratic Party and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's top Republican rival are blasting Dewhurst's efforts to free a relative jailed as a shoplifting suspect.
Police in Allen, a Dallas suburb, say Dewhurst called a police desk sergeant Aug. 3 to seek the release of a nephew's wife.
The Allen Police Department recording released Wednesday shows Dewhurst identifying himself, asking the sergeant what was needed to free his niece and asking for a judge's cellphone number. The niece was arrested on a shoplifting charge.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa says Dewhurst "has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans."
State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who already has announced that he'll challenge Dewhurst in next year's GOP primary, called Dewhurst's call a "blatant abuse of power."
A spokesman for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says Dewhurst's effort to free a jailed relative is nothing any caring family member wouldn't do.
Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine says Dewhurst "acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece."