While both Abbott and Paxton regularly sound false alarms over imagined in-person voter fraud, they are irresponsibly ignoring hard evidence that Putin’s Russia attempted to access Texas voter files. Had Putin succeeded, there could have been major election disruptions in Texas.
Abbott and Paxton – Trump’s Chumps?
Following news reports confirming that Russia tried to hack Dallas County voter files, the Lone Star Project sent public information requests to Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton. While we did not expect to receive details of an ongoing investigation, we did think we could get some idea of what efforts are being made to secure Texas elections. It turns out that no effort is being made at all. Neither office could produce a single record of any action on the matter. You can view the public information requests and responses here.
We shouldn’t have been surprised. Abbott and Paxton are following Donald Trump’s “look the other way” lead and maybe even helping him avoid disclosures that might embarrass Trump or implicate the White House in the Russian election hack.
Trump – Putin’s Patsy?
All major U.S. intelligence agencies, including both the CIA and the FBI, confirmed that the Russian government hacked into and interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Yesterday, while in Europe, Trump again fuzzed over and failed to fully acknowledge Russian interference in our election. Trump will likely do the same today when meeting Putin face-to-face.
Trump is President and the election can’t be unhacked. However, our national security and the integrity of all future elections demand a full investigation and cooperation from the White House and other public officials – like Abbott and Paxton – who are in a position to learn the facts.
Texas Democrats moved to confront Russian election interference
Even before Russian hacking in Texas was confirmed, Texas Democrats took strong steps to confront Russian interference in our elections. In April, State House Democratic Caucus Chair, Chris Turner (HD101- Arlington/Grand Prairie), filed a resolution calling on the United States Congress to halt any US investment in Russia until after a complete and thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US election has been completed. And in May, Turner filed an amendment to a House resolution that would seek to remove officials found to have colluded with foreign governments.
Turner’s resolution and amendment would have sent a strong message that the state of Texas is committed to free and fair elections and remains loyal to the democratic values our nation was founded upon. However, House Republican leaders tabled the amendment and killed the resolution in committee by allowing it to expire without a vote.
Don’t’ look to Trump or Texas Republicans for voter or election security
Only an irrational Donald Trump, with support from irresponsible political allies, could ignore the clear fact that his campaign was aided by Vladimir Putin and an elaborate Russian hacking/social media/disinformation campaign. No one expects Trump, Abbott, Paxton or any other Republican to apologize for winning the election. However, we do expect them to do their jobs to protect the integrity of U.S. elections and the security of our nation and our state.