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The Austin Chronicle: Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett Demand Voter Purge Documents

June 13, 2019

Calling state officials "Trumpettes" trying to avoid accountability and obstruct access to the truth, U.S. Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, pressured Gov. Greg Abbott, former Secretary of State David Whitley, and Attorney General Ken Paxton to fork over documents requested by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as it investigates Texas' flawed and discriminatory voter purge.

Paxton has pushed back on the committee's requests, arguing Congress has no "oversight jurisdiction" over constitutional officers in Texas. The dispute has heated up after recently revealed emails indicated Abbott may have had a stronger hand in spurring Whitley's voter purge plan than previously shown. "The evidence suggests the governor has his fingerprints on the most egregious thing that can happen in a democracy, which is an attempt to falsely take away the right of people to participate in a democracy – the right of people to vote," said Castro during a press conference Friday (June 7) at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin. "The governor should apologize to the people of Texas for lying."

Castro encouraged anyone tied to the scheme to provide documents if they have them. "If [state leaders] have nothing to hide, why wouldn't they turn those documents over?" he said. While Abbott has distanced himself from the failed purge, the congressmen noted that Whitley, formerly a top aide to Abbott before being appointed SoS, returned to the governor's office after resigning in disgrace. Castro suggested an investigation into that business by Paxton is warranted, though far-fetched. "I think you all know that statement seems laughable because we don't have a state government that acts ethically or with integrity," said Castro. "We have a group of people willing to do anything to win."