Conroe ISD engages in direct political advocacy advertising, violates criminal laws, Education Code, likely constitutes thousands of criminal counts

Conroe ISD engages in direct political advocacy advertising, violates criminal laws, Education Code, likely constitutes thousands of criminal counts

Image: Conroe Independent School District’s pro-bond advocacy website where the school district has a video specifically calling upon voters to vote in favor of the $677 million bond package set for referendum on November 5, 2019. The video is a direct violation of the criminal provisions of Section 255.003 of the Texas Election Code. By including the video on the school district’s website, the district clearly has engaged in thousands of violations of criminal law, because the rogue governmental entity has placed hundreds of political advertising signs on its campuses directing viewers to its website.

BREAKING NEWS!

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe, September 25 – Conroe Independent School District has included an explicitly pro-$677 million bond video on its website, conroeisd.net, in which the rogue school district has included the following political advocacy, “To provide for these items for our students the District is asking voters to approve the $677.37 million in bond funds.” The statement clearly advocates directly for voters to approve the $677.37 million bond in direction violation of the criminal law prohibitions of Section 255.003 of the Texas Election Code.

Texas Election Code Section 255.003 provides in part:

Sec. 255.003. UNLAWFUL USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR POLITICAL ADVERTISING. (a) An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a communication that factually describes the purposes of a measure if the communication does not advocate passage or defeat of the measure.

(b-1) An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not spend or authorize the spending of public funds for a communication describing a measure if the communication contains information that:

(1) the officer or employee knows is false; and




(2) is sufficiently substantial and important as to be reasonably likely to influence a voter to vote for or against the measure.

(c) A person who violates Subsection (a) or (b-1) commits an offense. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(Emphasis added.)

Kelli Cook, a Director of the Children’s Hope PAC, the citizens organization which opposes the $677 million bond but which raises contributions from regular citizens in order to fund its campaign rather than using public funds (like CISD) to do so, said, “Conroe ISD is not allowed to campaign for the bond. Yet no one is stopping them. Taxpayers and parents should be outraged at their lawless signs that are popping up around campuses.”

“Conroe ISD is not allowed to campaign for the bond. Yet no one is stopping them. Taxpayers and parents should be outraged at their lawless signs that are popping up around campuses.” – – Kelli Cook, Children’s Hope PAC.

After viewing the video on September 24, 2019, Cook added, “The video on the CISD website to which CISD’s thousands of signs on school campuses direct individuals to the conroeisd.net website suggests that each and every one of those signs constitute a separate violation of Section 255.003 of the Election Code and that the signs themselves are political advertising without mandatory political disclaimers and right-of-way notices.”

Sec. 11.169 of the Texas Education Code provides:

“ELECTIONEERING PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding any other law, the board of trustees of an independent school district may not use state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.”

Screen shots of the offending video on CISD’s website, which such video contains an explicit call to action by CISD voters in the November 5 referendum follow with captions within those videos revealing the advocacy:

Screen shot of pro-bond video showing captions at bottom of screen: “To provide for these items for our students…”
Screen shot of pro-bond video showing captions at bottom of screen: “…the District is asking voters to approve the $677.37 million…”
Screen shot of pro-bond video showing captions at bottom of screen: “…in bond funds.”

A link to the complete video, which directly violates the Texas Election Code, follows. The offending portions begin at approximately the 4:20 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwd_DY-tDA8

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