Saturday, September 17, 2005

A lawsuit in the works?

This is news that is circulating around, that Elizabeth Reyes, the staff lawyer who worked in the Texas Secretary of State's office was fired subsequent to the Secretary of State receiving a call from Rove.

(Recall that "Elizabeth Reyes, 30, was terminated Sept. 6 after being quoted in The Washington Post three days earlier saying it was potential vote fraud to register in a place where you don't actually live." Further recall that name never came up during the phone calls from the Washington Post to her. And further recall that the Washington Post burned her by not including her qualification on Texas state law that if a person intended to return to the state, that could also indicate residency...)

Here's what the Texas Secretary of State, Roger Williams has to say about his phone call with Rove:
"Karl called me. He had read the article and wanted to know if it was our stance" that his voter registration status in Texas might be in jeopardy, he said. "I told him it wasn't and that the person who gave that opinion was not authorized to do so."

The call to Williams came at the height of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, the weekend after the storm struck. Rove was involved in the early White House response and subsequently has been a leader in the federal government's reconstruction effort.
Maybe Karl's had a little too much on his plate lately? and its aftermath, Patrick Fitzgerald, potentially violating Texas voting law, kidney stones....

And on the legal end of things:
Reyes said she was told she was being terminated for violating an agency policy against talking to the media.

Scott Haywood, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said employees may take "routine press calls" but must refer media inquires to the communications director if they involve "controversial matters" or an opinion or interpretation of agency policy.

Williams, asked about the reasons for Reyes' dismissal, said: "That's a personnel matter. I don't really want to discuss it."

In Texas, state employees can be terminated at will.
...Unsure of Texas employment law and what this note about "state employees" being subject to termination "at will" means... Is it possible she could still sue her employer? It appears as though they are firing her for cause, i.e., for a specific violation of agency policy. But if she can argue she did not violate that policy, as the inquiry from the press was not a "controversial matter" nor was it an "opinion" or "interpretation of agency policy," she was elaborating upon Texas state law as a staff lawyer for the Texas Secretary of State...then is it possible she could sue for wrongful dismissal and summon Williams and Rove as witnesses...?