Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is defending his actions on August 3 when his niece, Ellen Bevers, was arrested and charged with stealing nearly $60 worth of groceries at a store in North Texas.
"How would you feel if you'd had two family members call and they were so distraught that they could barely talk? And so...I simply wanted to know what the procedures were, what could be done, if anything. Turned out nothing could be done," Dewhurst said.
Dewhurst handled the situation by giving the Allen Police Department a call.
"Janice, this is David Dewhurst, the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Texas, and I want to talk to your senior officer who is there at your department right now," Dewhurst says on the recorded tape.
Dewhurst also requested cellphone numbers for the Collin County Sheriff and judge but he didn't get them.
"I pictured my mom who is a single mom, if that ever happened to her. And I was concerned. I was a very concerned uncle. And I made it crystal clear that I didn't expect or deserve any special treatment," Dewhurst said.
Dan Patrick, Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson -- all running against Dewhurst for the Lt. Governor's seat -- have been pretty critical of his actions.
"I took that as a between the lines threat. 'I'm the Lieutenant Governor, you need to help me or I could have your job.' He didn't say that but I wonder if that's what that officer thought when he went home that night, was he going to get fired the next day," Patrick said.
A spokesperson for the Allen Police Department doesn't quite see it that way.
"He didn't threaten anybody. He didn't demand anything. He didn't ask for anything that was above and beyond what a normal citizen would so no I don't think he did anything that crossed any lines," said Sgt. Joe Felty with Allen Police.
Dewhurst says he's the type of guy that cares for his family, friends and the people of Texas and he's going to fight for them.
"In this case, I try and find out what the law is. I've never had this...I've never been in this situation. Never knew any of my family members have ever had any trouble with the law so I didn't know what the rules were. So I asked, found out and the lady had to spend the night in jail," Dewhurst said.
"If you don't know the law, that's what lawyers are for. He likes to brag about what a successful business person he is, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It seems to me you should be smart enough to call someone to explain it to you," Patrick said.
We asked Senator Patrick what he would have done in this situation. He says he would have called an attorney, told them to do the best they could to help his relative or friend and not to mention his name or that they're calling on his behalf.