Government
12:09 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Republican Candidates For Lt. Governor Want To Move State’s Public Integrity Unit

Name-calling, accusations  of lying, and mudslinging are what people have come to expect of the debate between the four Republican candidates for Texas lieutenant governor, but in front of the Montgomery County Tea Party on Wednesday a new idea was introduced that all four of the candidates agree on.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who is among the candidates said, “[It] makes no sense for the office [of Public Integrity] to be in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. Travis County is the most liberal county in the state.  And it would be more meaningful and just to have it a part of a more bipartisan panel.”

Staples is running against Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Houston Senator Dan Patrick in the Republican primaries, who also all support the idea of moving the public integrity unit to attorney general's office.  But Craig McDonald with the group Texans for Public Justice says that’s a bad idea.

“The worst thing about it is that doesn’t take the politics out of it," McDonald points out. "In fact moving it to the [Office of the] Attorney General likely puts more politics into it.”

McDonald says the attorney general’s office is a very partisan statewide office holder.  He says having the public integrity unit in Travis County makes the office less partisan.  

McDonald says, “The track record of the public integrity unit shows indeed they have investigated, prosecuted more Democrats than they have Republicans [even] under a Democratic district attorney.” 

Three of the four Republican candidates for Lt. Governor say they would also like to one day create an independent panel for the Public Integrity Unit.