Democrats Under Fire for Using Texas Schools for Illegal Electioneering
Texas Democrats have been using voter registration tactics and campaigning targeting teachers and eligible students of voting age that violate the state Constitution and electioneering laws.
Democrats in the deeply red state tried, and failed, to use Democrat teachers in Texas to elect Republican candidates. Republicans that tend to be more liberal and willing to throw money towards the schools.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has had to warn three Texas school districts to “cease and desist” what he called illegal electioneering efforts.
“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.” Paxton said
“The electioneering of these school districts is unacceptable. It is a poor example of the civic responsibility, integrity, and honesty that Texas educators should model for our students.”
Paxton’s letters emphasize that school districts may promote civic engagement and register students to vote. They are not permitted to “use state or local funds or other resources to electioneer.
Paxton specifically called out school officials for using public accounts and school dollars to express opinions on particular candidates. Many of the school districts’ social media accounts have tweeted or retweeted stances on issues in the upcoming elections.
At issue in the current election cycle is the line where factual information sharing ends and “political advocacy” begins.
The Lewisville Independent School District was one of three that Paxton sent a cease and desist letter. He accused them of using taxpayer resources to distribute messages to staff. Those messages publicly advocated for or against certain political candidates and measures. Much of the controversy stemmed from a 2018 “Your Voice Matters.” It is a three-minute primary campaign video. The video appeared on the school district’s social media platforms. It featured Superintendent Kevin Rogers.
On January 25, 2016, Rogers also emailed “LISD Staff” stating:
“In the coming weeks and months, you will notice our district becoming more politically active. Our participation in the political process has never been more critical than it will be in the next legislative session.”
The AG’s office recently asked Lewisville and other school districts for six months worth of election-related staff emails to better determine if any code violations occurred.
Lewisville Independent School District officials refused to take down its video. It continued to encourage educators to use their “teacher voice” and vote in the election for candidates who support public education. This despite the cease and desist letter.
In 2016, Rogers provided a link in his “LISD Staff” email list for district employees. The email linked to an “Open Letter to the Terrific Teachers of Texas” written by Milder and his wife, Leslie.
In it, the Milders stated that whoever won in the GOP March primary was likely to win in the November general election. Then, they advocated that teachers switch political parties in that primary to affect the outcome:
For those of you inclined to vote in the Democratic primary to support your presidential candidate of choice…
…please know your vote would be less meaningful than if you vote in the Republican Primary.
The letter continued, “You’ll be able to vote for the Democrat or Republican presidential candidate in the November general election.”
The letter offered further advice on how to engage with the Republican primary and where to access a preferred slate of candidates:
What’s the takeaway of this message? Register to vote, VOTE, and vote in the Republican Primary during early voting February 16-26, or on the Primary Election Day, March 1. Need help determining who are the most education-friendly candidates? We always check in on who the Texas Parent PAC has endorsed. They will post their slate of candidates online at www.txparentpac.com.
Lewisville ISD is the only one of three school district accused of “unlawful electioneering.”
Brazosport ISD, about 60 miles south of Houston, agreed to take down tweets and retweets from Superintendent Danny Massey applauding, recommending and endorsing legislative candidates.
Holliday ISD, which sits outside Wichita Falls, also agreed to comply.
READ: Democrats Call For Pelosi To Step Down As She Exhibits MORE Bizarre Behavior On Camera [WATCH]
In December, state Senator Paul Bettencourt had asked Paxton if school districts can legally use taxpayer dollars for political advertising or communications designed to influence voters on a particular measure or candidate.
In his letter to Paxton, Bettencourt argued that Texas Educators Vote “espouse a political perspective on education.” That it directs traffic to other websites that are equally “partisan in nature.”
The website links to Teach the Vote and the Texas League of Women Voters as go-to sources.
The League of Women Voters supports Democratic candidates and left-wing politics.