Three school districts are under intense scrutiny for unlawful electioneering after receiving cease and desist letters from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton sent the letters to Brazosport, Holliday, and Lewisville ISDs citing violations of the Texas Education Code for unlawful electioneering by school administrators.
Paxton commented on his office’s actions shortly after sending the letters:
My office fully encourages Texas schools to educate their students on civic duties and assist them in registering to vote. But pushing faculty or others to vote for a particular person is a clear violation of the Texas Election and Education Codes. These school districts must understand that they are responsible, as all state agencies are, for refraining from spending public funds on advocating for or opposing political candidates.
In the letters, Paxton cites examples of the districts using social media accounts and district resources in order to motivate teachers and staff to vote for liberal “pro-education” candidates like Scott Milder who is challenging Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the Republican Primary:
The electioneering of these school districts is unacceptable and a poor example of the civic responsibility, integrity, and honesty that Texas educators should model for our students.
Today’s action comes on the heels of an opinion released by the AG’s office on the legality of “culture of voting” resolutions adopted by school districts across the state. These resolutions call for the use of busses to ferry students and teachers to the polls in order to block vote for liberal candidates in the March Republican primary. The resolutions are presented as a call to promote civic engagement, but are actually a tool created by Texas Educators Vote to promote liberal candidates.
After citing specific violations by each school district, the AG’s office demanded the activity cease and gave the districts until Friday to respond:
We ask you to withdraw the above noted communications, and any like communications, and cease from making any further communications designed to support or oppose certain political candidates, or which may otherwise run afoul of Texas law. We request that we hear from you, in writing, no later than the end of business on Friday, February 16, 2018.
An ongoing investigation by Texas Scorecard has uncovered evidence of school districts involved in electioneering. Most recently, a school principal from Galena Park ISD was caught forwarding a campaign email from Scott Milder and urging district employees to cast their votes for him in the Republican primary.
The full letters from the AG’s office can be viewed here.