While the Office of the Attorney General has been blocked from prosecuting election fraud criminally, Ken Paxton announced Thursday night a civil lawsuit against the Denton Independent School District for what he has described as “illegal” election activity.

First reported this week by Texas Scorecard, a husband-wife administrator team in Denton sent explicitly political messages to their staff. Paxton described those actions as “directly violating the Texas Election Code’s prohibition against the use of ‘state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.'”

“It is absolutely improper for publicly funded entities like school districts to engage in electioneering as Denton ISD has done,” said Paxton. “State law prohibits government officials—including school district personnel—from using either their positions of authority or taxpayer resources to influence the outcome of elections. Government officials everywhere are on notice that I will use every legal remedy available to me to stop school districts from influencing or coercing their employees to vote any particular way, especially when a district uses taxpayer resources and money to do so. Our elections must be completely protected from any illegal interference.”

The OAG will initially be seeking an injunction against DISD from further electioneering.

Paxton’s office said he would be using the civil tools available against school districts that engage in efforts to influence elections.

In an 8-1 decision in December 2021, the Court of Criminal Appeals—Texas’ highest court on criminal matters—said that a state law granting the attorney general the power to prosecute election cases unilaterally is unconstitutional. They argued the attorney general is not given the express authority to do so by the Texas Constitution. The effect of the ruling has been to leave election-related criminal prosecutions in the hands of local district attorneys.

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