Dems point finger at Bettencourt

December 10, 2008 10:27:11 AM PST
Local Democrats are again shining an ethical spotlight on Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt. They claim his sudden resignation was inspired by problems in his office. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

He decided to step down shortly after winning re-election. The Texas Democratic Party says Bettencourt quit the day after it decided to take legal against his office.

The Texas Democratic Party has amended its federal lawsuit, now alleging that Bettencourt has illegally refused to register hundreds, if not thousands, of voters. Members of the TDP say that they filed suit with six plaintiffs who allege that Bettencourt and his office should have allowed them to vote in the November general election.

The ways in which these voters were supposedly denied registration vary, but center around the ways their applications were processed and what Bettencourt's office would and would not consider a full and complete registration application.

The Democratic Party says Bettencourt made a deliberate effort to limit the number of new voters in this election. They say that his resignation won't protect his alleged misdeeds from being discovered.

"If Mr. Bettencourt believes that his resignation is going to excuse his long-term behavior and refusing to register voters in Harris County, he's mistaken," said Chad Dunn with the Texas Democratic Party.

Bettencourt says he is leaving his job to go into the private sector.

Eyewitness News spoke with Bettencourt on the phone Wednesday morning and he called these allegations 'absolutely untrue.' He says these allegations are 'preposterous." He is holding a press conference today to blast back against the Democratic party's allegations.

Stay with Eyewitness News with more on this developing story.

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