The state is dispatching a team to temporarily oversee the Texas Funeral Service Commission, an agency at the center of a whistleblower lawsuit in which Gov. George W. Bush has been subpoenaed.
The former director of the funeral agency claims she was fired after investigating a company that donated money to Bush, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander said she is assembling a team at the request of the funeral commission's governing board and Bush's office.
The comptroller employees will work at the agency for 30 to 90 days with "complete authority to manage administrative affairs at the agency," Rylander said. She said the agency has a backlog of consumer complaints and applications from funeral service providers.
Rylander said her actions aren't related to the firing of the funeral agency's director, which resulted in the lawsuit.
Bush isn't a defendant in the lawsuit filed by former commission executive director Eliza May. His lawyers are scheduled to be in court Aug. 30 to argue that the subpoena should be dismissed.
Bush has said he knows nothing about the firing of May, who lost her job in February.
May, once treasurer of the Texas Democratic Party, led an investigation into the embalming practices of Service Corporation International, the owner of 3,700 funeral homes. SCI's political action committee gave Bush $35,000 in 1996 and 1997.
That inquiry resulted in a recommended fine of $445,000. SCI is fighting the fine.
May's lawsuit says she was dismissed nine months after being called into the office of Joe Allbaugh, Bush's executive assistant, and asked to explain inspections at two SCI affiliates in April 1998. Allbaugh now manages Bush's presidential campaign.
The company has denied any wrongdoing.
Bush has sworn he had no conversations with SCI officials about the state probe.