Bearse to Hart: "Before Rushing to Post a Story..."
Fri March 23, 2007 3:27 pm

Eric Bearse, Rick Perry's communications director, sent in this response to Patti Hart's earlier post about Jay Kimbrough:

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Patti,

I think your post conveys a fundamental misunderstanding of Mr. Kimbrough's role. He is not acting as a criminal investigator, but a facilitator and the lead figure in reforming the policies and procedures of this flawed agency.

If and when he uncovers criminal activity, he refers it to the appropriate authorities such as the office of Inspector General and the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are investigating, as evidenced by their arrest today of the Marlin superintendent who lied to them during the investigation. The senators were told in the meeting mentioned in your post that the Rangers are empowered to pursue all criminal leads, wherever they lead. They were also told, in no uncertain terms, that Mr. Kimbrough would remain in his role as a special master working to implement rapid change. I find these public comments to be inconsistent with the numerous private comments from senators expressed in admiration of Mr. Kimbrough's straight-forward, action-oriented approach.

It is also worth noting that the Rangers, when asked by the lead TDCJ investigator to provide personnel at the command post to field complaints, said they didn't have the resources to do so. Keep in mind they a little more than 100 agents in the field assisting with these investigations while pursing a variety of other criminal activity.

On another note, knowing that TEXAS MONTHLY reporters do not attend news conferences with the regularity of the capitol press corps, Mr. Kimbrough today announced he will be forming an advisory coalition including representatives from LULAC, the NAACP, the ACLU and criminal justice experts to review every case where an offender had their term extended to see if their is documentation warranting such extensions. A retired judge will be asked to make final determinations about each case.

One of the reasons Mr. Kimbrough is uniquely suited to serve in this capacity is that he has a record of cleaning up a troubled agency -- TACADA.

Before rushing to post a story next time based on one side of the story, please feel free to call one of our spokespersons to hear our perspective as well.

Respectfully,

Eric Bearse
Director of Communiations
Governor Rick Perry

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