AUSTIN, Texas – Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Central Texas school district, asking it to stop “unlawful electioneering activities."
The AG claims two school districts, Elgin Independent School District and Galen Park in Harris County, east of Houston, used taxpayer resources to distribute messages to their staffs and the public advocating for or against certain political candidates.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges that Elgin and Galena Park violated the Texas Education Code.
Last month, Paxton sent cease-and-desist letters to Brazosport, Holliday and Lewisville ISDs regarding violations of what they considered unlawful electioneering activities.
In his notice to Elgin ISD, he included a screenshot of a post made by the school superintendent’s official Twitter page, retweeting a tweet sent out by the Texas Parent PAC (political action committee):
“The evidence reveals that these communications were made on behalf of the School District as a government entity, acting in its official capacity, and using resources that belong to the taxpayers of Texas,” Paxton wrote to the districts.
“The Legislature has enacted laws empowering schools to encourage voting and assist students in registering to vote, but school districts violate the Texas Election and Education codes when they exhort faculty or others to vote for a particular person or ballot measure,” he said.
The AG's office has asked that all political messaging by the Elgin and Galena Park ISDs be removed from public space, and requested a written reply by March 21.
Statement from Elgin ISD:
Elgin ISD is in receipt of a written request from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas regarding certain communications posted to Twitter accounts. The District is reviewing the Attorney General’s request, and will respond to the request next week. Elgin ISD maintains that it has not violated any laws or regulations related to the Twitter communications in question, and looks forward to presenting this information to the Attorney General. Elgin ISD disagrees with the conclusions made in the Attorney General’s press release published today, which makes unsupported claims regarding use of taxpayer dollars to advocate in an election.
View the letter sent to Elgin ISD here.