President Bush's 19-year-old twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were cited by Texas authorities yesterday for alcohol violations at a popular Austin restaurant. Jenna, police say, tried to use someone else's driver's license to order a drink.
It is the second citation in five weeks for Jenna Bush, who just completed her freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin. She was cited for trying to use false identification to purchase alcohol, and Barbara, who just finished her freshman year at Yale University, was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, according to the Austin Police Department.
Police say Jenna Bush ordered a drink and was asked to produce ID. When she showed a valid driver's license belonging to someone else, she was declined the drink. Barbara Bush and a third woman were served alcohol; it is unclear if they were asked for ID. Restaurant management called the police to report that minors were trying to buy alcohol.
Under Texas's aggressive "zero tolerance" alcohol policies -- which then-Gov. George W. Bush signed into law in June 1997 -- the twins were each cited with a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500, mandatory attendance at an alcohol-awareness course, community service and a 30-day driver's license suspension.
On May 16, Jenna Bush pleaded no contest to a citation of underage drinking, after being ticketed at an Austin nightclub on April 27. She was ordered to take alcohol counseling and perform community service.
Because police say a false ID was involved in the most recent incident, Jenna Bush could have faced a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail, said Officer Mark Gohlke, an enforcement agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
However, it is up to the discretion of the police to issue a Class B or C citation, "depending on the circumstances" of the situation, said Toni Chovanetz, a public information officer with the Austin Police Department, which issued the citations. Chovanetz said she did not know the circumstances of the most recent citation, which stemmed from a Tuesday-night outing at Chuy's restaurant in south Austin.
"We sincerely regret any inconvenience this has caused the first family," Chuy's management said yesterday in a statement.
The two cases will go before the City of Austin Municipal Court. No date has been set.
The incident has caused a major media stir: Austin police have received about 400 calls over the past two days, Chovanetz said.
Yesterday evening, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan reiterated the White House position on matters concerning the presidential children: "It is an issue involving the president and the first lady and their daughters and their private lives. That is a family matter."