AUSTIN -- While under heavy criticism of its investigation into the House Democratic walkout, the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered all records related to that investigation destroyed.
The order to destroy the records was made May 15.
Democrats involved in the walkout began complaining May 13 that the agency investigation involved the harassment of their families.
Congressional Democrats also raised questions May 14 about whether the DPS misused a federal Homeland Security Department agency in searching for former Speaker Pete Laney's airplane on May 12.
A DPS officer had called the Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center asking for help locating Laney's aircraft.
The federal agency last Thursday put out a statement saying the DPS had mislead the interdiction service into believing it was searching for an aircraft that was missing and possibly crashed.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has refused to release tapes of the telephone call from DPS.
A total of 55 Texas House Democrats vanished on May 13 in order to break a quorum to keep the House from debating legislation to redraw the state's congressional district boundaries.
As soon as Speaker Tom Craddick, a Republican, knew a quorum was not present, he ordered the missing lawmakers to be arrested and returned to the House. The state Constitution gives the House and Senate presiding officers the power to do that.
The DPS set up a command post in the reception room adjacent to Craddick's office.
All but four of the missing legislators had gone into hiding in Ardmore, Okla. DPS was following a rumor that Laney was using his airplane to ferry lawmakers between Georgetown north of Austin to Ardmore.
Hmm, I wonder who started that rumor. Craddick's unseemly behavior was previously discussed here.