Citizens’ complaints have led to criminal prosecutions of two Denton Independent School District administrators for illegal electioneering, marking the first time Texas school officials have been held criminally liable for using district resources to electioneer.

Local voters submitted affidavits to Denton County District Attorney Paul Johnson on February 27 that alleged criminal election interference by Denton ISD administrators Jesus and Lindsay Lujan, a husband and wife.

Both were indicted April 2 in county criminal courts on charges of unlawful use of internal mail system for political advertising, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Citizens’ affidavits included evidence that ahead of the March 5 primary election, Denton ISD’s Director of Special Programs Lindsay Lujan and Borman Elementary Principal Jesus Lujan sent messages to school staff using the district’s email system that incentivized employees to vote in the Republican primary for candidates who “support public education and school funding.”

Which primary a voter participates in is public information, and school district officials routinely check voting records to see which employees have voted in school bond elections.

Lindsay Lujan’s email also included a link to a list of candidates that indicated whether they “support” or “oppose” public school education.

Court records show that the Lujans are scheduled for arraignment on May 13.

Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that promotes government accountability and educational freedom, helped Denton voters submit their affidavits to Johnson along with a letter demanding a criminal investigation.

“We are proud to help Texans exercise their right under the Texas Election Code to hold government officials accountable for using taxpayer resources to sway elections,” said Dean McGee, LJC’s educational freedom attorney.

“The DA’s actions are a win for all of the Denton voters who came forward to ensure that corruption was not swept under the rug,” McGee told Texas Scorecard.

Citizens also submitted criminal electioneering affidavits against Huffman ISD Superintendent Benny Soileau to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, again with help from LJC.

Ogg’s office responded immediately to the complaints, advising LJC on March 28 that the affidavits had been forwarded to the DA’s Public Corruption Division.

For years Texans have regularly reported school electioneering activities, particularly during high-stakes bond and tax increase elections, but no government school official has ever been criminally prosecuted until now.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.