Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Hutto ISD for illegal electioneering, according to a March 4 filing.

The filing directly precedes the March 5 primary election.

The details

The filing lists the defendants as Billie Logiudice, Amy English, Shannon Jacobs, Shara Turner, Terrence Owens, Felix Chavez and James Matlock in their capacity as HISD board trustees. HISD Superintendent Raúl Peña is also named in the suit, which was filed against the district in regard to a post published to the district's Facebook page Feb. 28.
The filing includes a screen capture of the Facebook post that is the subject of the lawsuit. (Courtesy Office of the Attorney General)

A statement from the district denies any wrongdoing.

"Hutto ISD was surprised to learn of a suit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton," the statement reads. "At no time has the district used public resources to advocate for or against a candidate, ballot measure or political party, in violation of state law. At Hutto ISD, our focus remains on empowering student success and advancing our district. We're committed to enhancing every student's journey towards excellence."

The background

According to the Texas Election Code, “an officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.”

The lawsuit filing states the district used official resources to advocate for certain policies and political measures. It states that the social media post by the district directly violates 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,” according to a March 4 news release from the attorney general.

In the suit, Paxton alleges the parties named allowed the use of district computers, salaries and email accounts to be used to publish the social media post, encouraging individuals to vote for candidates who support public schools and who are against vouchers.

"Hutto ISD, using official government resources, advocated for certain political policies and measures on its social media accounts," the news release from Paxton's office reads.

Taking a step back

Per the filing, the attorney general's office does not seek monetary relief or attorney's fees.

HISD joins a list of districts the Paxton has taken similar actions against, securing a temporary restraining order against Frisco ISD; injunctions against Castleberry and Denton ISDs; and suits against Aledo, Denison and Huffman ISDs.