Democratic congressmen from Texas have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a raid by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office that targeted a nonprofit voter registration group. The Dallas Morning News reported Aug. 31 on the attorney general’s criminal investigation of Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud. The probe was closed one year later, with no charges filed. Following the armed raid in 2010, the funding for Houston Votes dried up. Its efforts to register more low-income voters in the state’s most populous county, Harris, ended. The group’s records and office equipment were destroyed under a court order obtained by Abbott’s office last year. In a Sept. 10 letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the 12 Democratic House members from Texas asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into the matter. “This raid raises serious concerns about the biased use of state resources to prevent Texans from legally registering to vote,” the letter said. Texas has 36 House districts, with Republicans holding 24 seats. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the investigation request is being reviewed.
Reached for comment, Jerry Strickland, an Abbott spokesman, said in an email: “If the Texas Democratic Congressional delegation is interested in more than political grandstanding and is genuinely concerned with following and enforcing the law, they should demand the Department of Justice investigate Houston Votes’ illegal activity.
“Houston Votes’ own executive director admitted to attorney general investigators that they fraudulently signed voter registrations and illegally collected information to sell to ACORN-linked Project Vote – that’s precisely the kind of illegal activity the Justice Department needs to investigate,” Strickland added.
No one was charged in the Houston Votes investigation.
The News reported that in October 2011 the Harris County District Attorney’s office “declined to accept for prosecution the case as prepared by investigators of the Texas Attorney General’s office,” according to a court document filed last year.