A lawsuit filed Monday is alleging that an incumbent Texas House Republican’s campaign made false accusations with Child Protective Services against his opponent in order to gain an advantage in the 2016 Republican primary.

Bo French, a Fort Worth businessman who is again challenging nine-term incumbent State Rep. Charlie Geren, joined Texas Scorecard Radio this week to discuss the horrifying ordeal that resulted after his opponent’s campaign operative made a fraudulent call to CPS in the closing days of the last primary, which saw Geren win re-election in a narrow victory.

French is suing David Sorensen, a Democrat party political operative who Geren employed in 2016 and who allegedly made the false claims against French. Sorensen brags on his firm’s website that he embodies “the spirt of Lyndon Johnson, Ann Richards, and Barbara Jordan” and boasts of “helping the Tarrant County Democratic Party experience some of the best election returns in over a decade.”

According to the lawsuit, Sorensen used facts about the French’s young children that the Geren campaign learned from eavesdropping on a conversation between French’s wife and a supporter. They then fabricated a story accusing French of abusing his children and relayed the tale in an anonymous call to Child Protective Services on the Friday before the March 1, 2016 primary election.

The call resulted in a visit to French’s home by a CPS case worker and a police officer that evening, who attempted to interview the Frenches’ children while the couple was away at a fundraiser. CPS workers revisited the home the following two days and it took months for the case to be resolved entirely. During that time, French feared for the custody and safety of his children.

“Everyone warned that lots of falsehoods and lies and attacks would be levied our way, and I expected that against me or even my wife,” French told Texas Scorecard Radio. “But I never imagined that someone would try to have our kids taken away from us.”

Since the suit was filed, grassroots activists in Tarrant County have begun to call for Geren’s resignation. Julie McCarty, the head of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, was the first to make the call.

She was followed by Republican activist Morgan McComb.

If the allegations in the lawsuit are accurate, the scheme by Geren’s campaign represents a shocking new low in Texas politics and those responsible need to be held accountable for their shameful actions.

In response to pre-suit motions relating to the case, Sorensen argued that the anonymous phone call was protected by the First Amendment. This is ironic in light of his employer’s efforts to curtail the First Amendment rights of conservative Texans.

Geren has not yet commented on the lawsuit. Voters in Fort Worth deserve answers as to what Geren knew about Sorensen’s activities and when, as well as why he was employing a Democratic political operative in the first place.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.