In the United States, citizens and elected officials are supposed to be equal under the law. The U.S. Constitution bans titles of nobility, and demands no special treatment for any citizen over another. However, one Texas lawmaker believes she deserves an exception.
State Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene) has represented a slice of Texas for nearly ten years. In office, King has served as a committee chair in the coalition government of liberal Republicans and Democrats that governs the Texas House. Unsurprisingly she has voted as a typical establishment, grow-government Republican, earning a failing grade on the Fiscal Responsibility Index for voting to increase her own office budget, authorize billions in new state debt, and other poor choices.
While King’s legislative record is well known, her criminal record is not. And she is fighting to keep it hidden from her constituents and voters.
After an incident at her home in November that resulted in a police response, King was checked into a treatment facility for depression and suspended her campaign to replace outgoing State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). King relaunched her campaign in December and quickly sought to have her record with the Abilene Police Department sealed.
In response to several Public Information Act requests, the Attorney General ruled that the police reports were public records and King’s constituents were entitled to see them. However, King was successful in suing for a restraining order on the release of her criminal record in the courtroom of a liberal Travis County Judge. King claims that she is merely protecting her “health records” from public scrutiny, but many argue that a police response is far different than a doctor’s medical records.
Matt Langston, a spokesman for King’s runoff election opponent, asserts the King campaign is conflating health records and criminal records in order to cover up potentially embarrassing events that occurred at her home in November.
“When you have a medical issue you don’t call the cops, you call an ambulance,” said Langston. “The fact is that [King’s] temporary restraining order is with the Abilene Police Department — as she attempts to keep them from doing their job and complying with a legal, open records request.”
In Texas, 911 calls aren’t considered health records, and are widely obtainable across the state. They are routinely released to the media upon request. Requests for 911 calls are so frequent that the Houston Police Department even includes them on their website among the “most common types of requests.” Despite that fact, many in the media seem to be openly carrying water for the King campaign and inappropriately deeming a call to the police as part of King’s “health records.”
The coverage has drawn criticism from Robert Pratt, host of the popular “Pratt on Texas” radio show.
“All of it is journalistic malpractice creating an atmosphere of victimhood for Rep. King who, as a matter of record, was the one who told the public of her treatment for depression,” said Pratt. “Why is this so egregious? Because no health records were ever at issue in the case – such are private and protected by law. The Temporary Restraining Order, and the entire case, is about nothing more than government records routinely released: 911 calls. That’s it.”
King’s success in the Travis County courtroom means the case won’t be reopened until November. As a result, her criminal record “conveniently” won’t be released until after her primary campaign has already been decided. Until then, citizens will be left in the dark with regard to what the police records contain. But one thing is clear for Texans to see —the special treatment given to Susan King is yet another example of a politically motivated privilege granted to those in Texas’ political class.