Conservative leader Julie McCarty says it’s time for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to “feel some heat” after his office has indicated they will fight a lawsuit brought by several grassroots organizations challenging “deceptive” ballot language on a constitutional amendment passed last year.
Shortly following the constitutional election last November, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, Grassroots America – We The People, and True Texas Project filed a lawsuit against Texas Secretary of State John Scott, challenging Proposition 2.
The lawsuit alleges the ballot language that was put before voters—and passed—failed to comply with common law requirements and was substantially misleading due to an omission of the phrase “ad valorem tax increases.”
Courts have previously ruled that ballot propositions be described with “such definiteness and certainty that the voters are not misled.”
In 2011, virtually the same ballot proposition was put before Texas voters and failed to pass. With new language, however, the measure passed in 2021 when it was authored by State Rep. Terry Canales (Edinburg), the Democrat chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
As Julie McCarty, the CEO of True Texas Project, said in an email to her organization’s members:
The same amendment voters faced last year was attempted 10 years ago and shot down because it disclosed that it was a property tax increase. So what did legislators do? They rewrote it WITHOUT telling you that it’s a tax increase and resubmitted it to Texans to vote on. It’s the very same measure, and they deliberately and knowingly decided not to give you the most important information for you to make a decision. Of course it passed, and so we sued them for lying to voters with their deceptive caption.
After the lawsuit was filed, McCarty says the Office of the Attorney General indicated that they agreed with the suit and would not defend it in court. Now, she says they are rapidly changing their course:
Initially Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office indicated they agreed with us, but after pressure from Abbott and the DEMOCRAT who drafted the deceptive language, Paxton has now turned against taxpayers in the suit. In fact, he is now rushing to oppose our lawsuit before he has to answer questions from the author of the amendment, a Democrat committee chair and criminal lawyer from the RGV.
But wait… it gets worse. Not only are they saying the ballot language was not deceptive, Paxton is asking Travis County Democrat judges to rule that no citizen has the right to question any ballot language written by the legislature ever again!!! He wants to give the legislature a blank check to deceive voters.
McCarty says now is the time for conservatives to hold the attorney general accountable:
It’s time for Paxton to feel some heat. During the Primary, his office claimed they were on our side. Now that the Primary is over, he apparently prefers to bow to the Democrats in Austin and ignore the taxpayers. Hey, as long as he throws out red meat regarding Biden, he can skate by, right? Not on our watch. True Texas Project believes in holding ALL elected officials accountable, and this is certainly worthy of our attention.
What should you do? We’ll tell you. Please call Paxton’s office at (800) 252-8011 and tell him you expect him to defend taxpayers, not tax-raising Democrats who lie to voters.
After publishing, Paxton’s office returned request for a comment in which they disagreed with McCarty’s characterization:
It cannot credibly be said that AG Paxton is “siding” with Democrats. Our friends at the True Texas Project are unfortunately mistaken. First, AG Paxton did not “initially indicate” that he would break from the position of his client, the Secretary of State. Any pre-litigation openness to some of the positions TTP was taking on this issue cannot be construed to mean AG Paxton would wholesale decline to represent the SOS. Second, it was TTP—not AG Paxton—that filed suit in front of a Democrat Travis County District Court Judge. AG Paxton has no choice but to litigate the case there. Third, AG Paxton is certainly not arguing that “no citizen has the right to question any ballot language written by the legislature ever again.” Rather, AG Paxton has filed a “plea to the jurisdiction” on facts and law that are unique to this case. Lastly, AG Paxton has a basic duty to represent his client: here, the SOS. There’s nothing “liberal” about that, and TTP is wrong to lump AG Paxton in with Democrats just for doing his job.