Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is facing criticism after calling the Allen police department in an attempt to help a family member who’d been arrested. As was first reported by the NBC affiliate in Dallas, Dewhurst personally contacted a police sergeant in an effort to assist his nephew’s wife, who’d been jailed for shoplifting from a Kroger’s grocery store.

Police released the audio recording of the call, Wednesday night. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst can be heard identifying himself. “I just got a call from my step-sister, whose daughter in-law, Ellen Beavers, was arrested. I think, this is me, on a mistaken charge,” he said. “If you would explain to me, sergeant, what I need to do, to arrange getting her out of jail this evening and you can proceed with whatever you think is proper.

Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine released a statement, saying:

“David acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece while reiterating multiple times in the full conversation that law enforcement follow their normal protocols and procedures.”

Dewhurst’s opponents have been quick to criticize his actions. Sen. Dan Patrick, who is challenging Dewhurst in the GOP primary, released this statement:

“I was saddened and disappointed to hear today’s report that David Dewhurst attempted to use his power and influence to get a family member out of jail.  The fact that David Dewhurst believes he and his family are above the law is the height of arrogance and recklessness.  This blatant abuse of power would be stunning coming from any elected official.  However, it is particularly disturbing coming from the Lieutenant Governor of Texas.”

The Texas Democratic Party is also accusing Dewhurst of abusing the office of the lieutenant governor. TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released this statement via email:

“Once again Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans. His call to police shows a clear attempt to use his political position for influence, intimidation, and preferential treatment. That’s just not how things work in Texas. Our political leaders are not above the rest of Texans, nor should they expect to be treated so.  Dewhurst has further disrespected the office of the Lt. Governor, and highlights the failure of leadership by those presently in power.”