Following up on the last post … After the initial squall over the manhunt for the Texas Democrats, state Representative Lon Burnam — a member of the Law Enforcement Committee — filed an open records request for documents relevant to the Department of Public Safety’s manhunt. After hearing news reports that files were being destroyed even after the issuance of that request, he filed a motion for, and eventually received, a restraining order barring further document destruction. Burnam also subsequently filed a motion to depose four members of the DPS.
In response to Burnam’s request, the Texas Attorney General’s office — acting on behalf of the DPS — demanded that Burnam reveal the names of his sources (i.e., those at DPS who had squealed) before any members of the DPS would be deposed.
“It is not possible,” says the AG’s filing, “to prepare for the preliminary injunction hearing or to prepare for the defense of depositions until Plaintiff identifies the source of the information that documents were allegedly destroyed after the receipt of the open records request on May 19th, 2003.”
(A copy of the Texas AG’s motion has just been added to the TPM Document Collection.)
Yesterday a judge ordered everybody to show up to get deposed next Monday, the four members of the DPS and Burnam and his legislative director.
On Thursday afternoon, I spoke to Burnam. He told me that he has “multiple sources” at the DPS who told him about the alleged document destruction. He also says he will identify his sources at the deposition on Monday, though he is currently trying to arrange some sort of whistleblower protection for them. When I asked Burnam why he thought the AG’s office placed such importance on finding out the identity of his sources, he said he thought “they are trying to find out what I know and who I know it from and how they can get to them.”