Emails (excerpted), Jerry Strickland, communications director, Attorney General Greg Abbott, July 26-Aug. 1, 2013

2:26 pm

July 26

The assertion that a $1.4 million grant was used to investigate voter fraud is false and, in no way, based in reality.  The grant money in question was used by attorney general investigators to investigate online child predators, identity theft, ERCOT fiduciary mismanagement, Pedernales Electric Cooperative prosecution and other efforts.  Of the $1.4 million grant, only $93,579 was used on Election Code cases.

 

Attached is a cost breakdown of funding sources for the time period in question.  I’m also attaching a 2009 statement we provided on this issue and then a series of news stories, including two from Chuck Lindell and one from Burka.  The Burka story is about as plain language as they come.

3:11 pm

July 29

Looking for a few dates, but these answers should get you started.

--The document describing expenditures intended for October 2006 through September 2007 is headlined “Attachment F.” Attachment to what? This document looks like an application, but I can’t tell if so. If it is, who is the application to and for what purpose? How much money?

It was submitted to the Legislature.

 

--How is it distinct from Attachment A, which looks to me like an application submitted as signed by Jay Kimbrough in June 2005; do I read that right?

Attachment A is original application for the Byrne grant saying what we were going to do with the $1.4 million.  Attachment F is the next Byrne grant application describing some of the enforcement efforts conducted by our office as part of the previous grant award (the $1.4m).

 

--Was there any waiver granted to permit Byrne Fund dollars to be spend on election ballot allegations? If so, who granted it and what was the reason? When was it granted?

No need for a waiver to spend $93K from the $1.4 million grant on Election Code cases. Our short explanation of what the money was to be used for is included in the grant application and includes “fraudulent voter” investigations.

From the grant applications:

“This grant will add additional staff to the Criminal Investigations Division to allow for rapid response to law enforcement throughout the state of Texas. The types of cases they will be assisting with will vary greatly but will include Internet criminal investigations, fugitive investigation and apprehension, criminal consumer fraud investigations, and fraudulent voter and public corruption investigations.”

 

 

 

--The governor’s August 2005 press release does not mention voters or elections.  Meaning?

You’d have to ask them.  We wouldn’t speculate on what they write or don’t write in a news release.

 

--On the referrals document, it looks like every referral came from the Secretary of State’s office. Is that right? If not, is there a more detailed breakdown? 

SoS gets their referrals from various sources.  We do not have a more detailed breakdown.

 

--What time period on the referrals document would cover allegations investigated with Byrne Fund monies? I am assuming the same time period would apply to the prosecutions update and charges pending lists, though please correct me if that is wrong?

Checking on dates.

 

--Broadly, did the expenditure of Byrne or other funds to investigate these cases have a beginning and ending date? If so, what are they?

Checking

 

I realize, too, you’re also looking into the lawsuit settlement characterized in Dallas Morning News story.

The plaintiffs in that case asked the court for five things in their federal lawsuit – but did not receive any of the relief they sought.  Election Code provisions were deemed constitutional, the Attorney General’s office was not enjoined or prohibited from enforcing the Election Code and it was the plaintiffs that dismissed their claims without prejudice.  It is false and misleading to say the Attorney General’s office agreed or was forced into ceasing enforcement, or changed our policy.

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:wgselby@statesman.com]

Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 11:09 AM

To: Strickland, Jerry

Subject: RE: Election code cases - cost breakdowns

 

What date in 2009 was this statement issued?

3:39 pm

July 29

March 10, 2009

11:03 am

Aug. 1, 2013

Attached you will find the following items:

1.)        Transcript of the May 28, 2008 hearing where the bulk of the case was dismissed.

2.)   Order dismissing and denying the remaining claims by the plaintiffs on the remaining issues that were not agreed to May 28, 2008.

3.)   Opinion and order from the court which explains the court’s decision siding with the State.

 

The transcript of the hearing is merely a recitation of how the Office of the Attorney General investigates and prioritizes election code enforcement.  In the transcript, the Plaintiff says the statement merely “accurately describes [the OAG] policy for criminal investigations and prosecutions under the Texas Election Code.” Tr. P. 4, lines 4-7.  Under the agreement, the OAG did not announce or acquiesce to any new policy or practice.  This was the practice of the office before the suit and after.  No changes required by the court or agreed to in the dismissal.

 

Documents 2 and 3 address the portion of the case not agreed to on March 28, 2008.  It included the Plaintiffs’ challenges to Section 84.004 of the Texas Elections Code, which was denied in total, meaning the all claims from the lawsuit were dismissed or denied.

 

From the opinion:

The court denies the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and grants the defendants’ motion to the extent necessary to deny all of the plaintiffs’ claims for release.  The challenged restriction is not contrary to the First or Fourteenth Amendments and is not preempted by the Voting Rights Act.

11:10 am

Aug. 1

On allegations that our investigators were looking into the windows while investigating Election Code violations:

 

Paragraph 36 of Plaintiffs’ Original Complaint included this allegation:

 

36..      There have also been reports that investigators from Defendant ABBOTT's office have used outrageous investigatory tactics with respect to Section 86.006 and related provisions of the Texas Election Code   For example, on or about August 10, 2006, Plaintiff' GLORIA MEEKS was in her bathroom at her Fort Worth residence taking a bath one morning   While disrobed and upon stepping out of her bath, she looked up and saw two men peeping at her through her bathroom window        She later learned that these two persons were investigators with the Office of the Defendant Attorney General ABBOTT..

 

 In our answer to the allegations in paragraph 36, State responded:

 

36.  Defendants can neither admit nor deny that there have been reports of outrageous investigatory practices, but deny that any investigative tactics have been outrageous.  Defendants deny that investigators were intentionally peeping into Plaintiff Meeks’ bathroom window, and would clarify that as they stood on Plaintiff Meeks’ porch, the investigators’ attention was drawn to a nearby window because of movement from inside the window, and the investigators looked toward the window.