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Texas DA seeks ruling to keep some files secret

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle on Friday sought refuge from publicly disclosing details of his grand jury investigation of Republican campaign activities by filing an appeal with Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of whose 2002 consultants is among those under investigation.

Earle on Friday released a five-inch stack of documents, but he also is seeking to keep others private, claiming their release would compromise his grand jury investigation. The state public information law requires any agency that wants to keep records secret to seek an opinion from the state attorney general.

In this case, that means Abbott.

For more than a year, Earle has been investigating whether the Texas Association of Business and U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority illegally used corporate funds to influence the outcome of 2002 state House races.

TAB lawyer Andy Taylor and Texas Republican Chairman Tina Benkiser in recent weeks have hit Earle's office with extensive public records requests in an effort to show the Democratic district attorney's investigation is politically motivated. -- DA seeks ruling before disclosing probe details (HoustonChronicle.com)