Poop-gate Update: DPS Says It Will Release Information

by Published on
David Dewhurst
Patrick Michels

Poop-gate is the scandal that just won’t die. Here’s the latest from the shit-hits-the-fan department: The Observer was one of six media outlets that requested information from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) after the agency claimed that protestors had tried to bring “suspected” jars of feces and urine into the Capitol during the abortion debate on July 12. DPS and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst—who claimed that he “saw” bags of feces and jars of urine and then later backtracked to say he’d only been told about them—haven’t produced any evidence that protestors had urine and feces.

Last week, DPS informed the Observer and other media organizations that it wouldn’t be releasing any information and was seeking a ruling from the Texas Attorney General. It’s not unusual for government agencies to withhold information they claim isn’t public or to ask the AG for an open records ruling. However, DPS’ letter to AG Greg Abbott was unusually broad, citing every exception contained in the Texas Public Information Act, including ones that apply specifically to library records, appraisal districts and no-call lists.

But today, responding to an Observer request for additional information from DPS about its filings with the Texas Attorney General, the agency reversed course. In a letter to the AG, DPS said it was “withdrawing its request for a ruling” and “will release records” requested by the Observer and other media—a highly unusual move for a major agency. In a letter, DPS said it would contact me “about releasing the information” by August 23.

Houston attorney Brian Trachtenberg wrote to DPS last week that it had violated the Public Information Act by waiting more than 10 business days to respond to the Poopgate requests and must immediately cough up the records.

“DPS’s attempt to hide behind the AG to avoid producing the requested information, however is fatally flawed,” he writes in a July 30 letter to DPS.

Side-note: Republicans have complained that Poopgate is silly. Here’s the thing: This is a ridiculous scandal. And it’s one that exists (and continues on and on) because of DPS and Dewhurst. In the heat of an unprecedented moment at the Texas Capitol, the state law enforcement agency issued a press release accusing citizens of bringing jars of “suspected” feces and urine into the Capitol but has been unable to point to any evidence to back up its claims. None of the DPS troopers interviewed by The Texas Tribune claim to have seen the “suspected” jars. David Dewhurst claimed to have personally seen “bags” of feces but then later changed his story. Now, DPS has been uncharacteristically sloppy in handling a legally-binding request for more information. Something stinks.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Michael Glass

    Keep it up! The damn is cracking.

  • Kathy Kennemer Genet

    DPS Task from August 5-August 23: Fabricate some sh*t about sh*t.

  • Guest

    Sounds like they need time to fake some poop and fee jar photos.

  • Willie Oteri

    Sounds like DPS needs a little time to fake some poop and pee jar photos.

  • lobo214

    Release the information about the evidence, or lack of it now and let the shit (Dewhurst) hit the fan.

  • rainey13

    They’re just trying to take some of the heat off of the REAL scandal which is Dewhurst and his cronies trying to cover up the illegal changing of the official timestamp manipulation at the end of the first special session.

  • SoberMoney

    There was feces in the Capitol: The Republican politicians.

  • SoberMoney

    Sadly, our politicians, in both parties, are compulsive liars. They have to lie, otherwise voters would see their obvious incompetence and mass servitude to corporate and private sector special interests.

    Even more sad is the fact that our taxpayer funded police and security system mostly works for these same private special interests. So even they will lie and hide facts for their political masters.

    • Jeff Bohning

      While I agree there are aspects of corporate shilling on occasion from “both sides” I see much less of it from the left than the right and absolutely no attempts to help resolve this problem from the right.

      • SoberMoney

        I agree, Jeff, but those differences are becoming less and less and fewer and far between.

  • SoberMoney

    Regarding Texas law enforcement, here is a story I was sent via email:

    This story involves the police department in the small hill country town of Fredericksburg , TX who reported finding a man’s body last Saturday in the early evening in the Pedernales River near the state
    highway-87 bridge.

    The dead man’s name would not be released until his family had been notified.

    The victim apparently drowned due to excessive beer consumption while visiting “someone” in Kerrville . He was wearing black fishnet stockings, 10 inch spiked heels, a red garter belt, a pink G-string, purple lipstick, dazzel dust on his eyelids, 2 1/2 inch false eyelashes and an Obama T-shirt.

    The police removed the Obama T-shirt to spare his family any unnecessary embarrassment.

    See, Texas law enforcement are not bigoted and do care.

    • Kansan

      Well, I for one am glad they finally located your dad.
      When will you hold the funeral?

      • newsmom4968

        kansan: really? this is the kind of stuff i remember from 7th grade…

        • Kansan

          Wow!

          You made all the way to the 7th grade?

          I’m impressed.

    • newsmom4968

      i don’t want this to be true, but i can’t not believe it is…

    • stormkite

      Which pretty much proves the basic truth of the universe: Never believe Republicult chain emails.

      Or, really, Republicult anything.

    • Adele Roberson

      http://www.factcheck.org/2013/07/false-assumptions-on-the-health-care-law/

      From: Fact Check:
      False assumptions on the Health Care Law.
      SoberMoney – this might be difficult for you with limited mental abilities … but read it anyway… it might save your measly life. Pass it around – you obviously do not have anything else to do.

  • Donald Dickson

    I am a #pooptruther. After the officers themselves did such a fantastic job of maintaining order without having to drag busloads of people to the pokey, I think it is deeply regrettable that the Department itself damaged its credibility in this way.

  • Kansan

    Apparently, the DPS can’t tell “suspected scat” from Shinola.

  • Kansan

    I noticed how even in creationist Texas, the story had quickly “evolved” from the slime, away from Tampongate.

    Jars “possibly” filled with urine and/or feces quickly became, “Jars of urine and feces.”

    It’s of course perfectly acceptable to carry handguns into the gallery of TX legislature, if one has a concealed carry permit. Being in the armed forces, Major Nidal Whatshisface would have been automatically eligible to permitted carry at Ft. Hood.

    So, if women wanted to smuggle tampons into the senate gallery, the move would have been to get CCW permits as ten of those dangerous objects could have been easily secreted in the 8 3/8″ barrel and cylinder of a Model 500 S&W .50 caliber magnum revolver.
    Don’t believe me. Check the dimensions for yourself.

  • newsmom4968

    how’s about we call bull-you-know-what on DPS and Dewhurst and agree they spread un- semi-, quasi-, possibly non-truths as an accommodation to their TP claque. it gives meaningful insight into the integrity of both parties.

  • Adele Roberson

    http://www.factcheck.org/2013/07/false-assumptions-on-the-health-care-law/

    From: Fact Check:
    False assumptions on the Health Care Law.