Agency Defends File Destruction in Tom Craddick’s Office

Staff Report
The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The agency that deleted computer files from the office of ousted Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick today stood by the action.

Craddick last month failed to retain the post. The new speaker is Joe Straus of San Antonio.

The council said it allowed Craddick to take any electronic records he wanted to keep as he returned to the House as a rank-and-file member.

The Associated Press reports the computers had been wiped clean.

But the council says it followed its regular procedures, which included computer "sanitization" guidelines issued in 2003 and revised in 2007.

A statement from council director Milton Rister says legislators make all decisions regarding their files.

But State Rep. Tommy Merritt of Longview says Rister should resign over the incident.

A council spokeswoman declined comment on Merritt's request.


-- State Rep. Pete Gallego of Alpine says he's filing legislation to prevent such destruction in the future.

-- Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth filed a bill that would require the head of the Legislative Council to be a licensed attorney. Rister is not on file with the Texas Bar as a lawyer.