Elections 2022Abbott, Patrick Join Push to Restore Attorney General’s Ability to Prosecute Election Fraud

The Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that the state attorney general does not have the authority to prosecute election fraud.
January 25, 2022
The top two elected officials in Texas have thrown their weight behind a GOP-led effort to spur reconsideration of the Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that the attorney general may not prosecute election fraud allegations.

Attorney General Ken Paxton has already asked the court to reconsider its ruling.

Last week, 14 state Senators filed an amicus brief joining the growing effort to push the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its decision.

Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick lent his name to that filing.

“Election integrity is one of the most important tenets of our government, and we need checks at the state level to ensure that our elections are fair,” Patrick said in a statement, asking the court to restore the attorney general’s capacity.

The Texan Tumbler

The court ruled that only county district attorneys may pursue those charges, neutering a portion of the GOP-backed election bill passed last year. The Texas GOP is also part of the legal effort.

“If the court’s decision stands, certain rogue county and district attorneys will be allowed to turn a blind eye to election fraud, and they will have the final say on whether election fraud is prosecuted at all. To me, this is completely unacceptable.”

Governor Greg Abbott followed suit shortly thereafter voicing his support for the effort. An Abbott spokesman said, “Texas passed the nation’s strongest election-integrity law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, cracking down on voter fraud.”

“Texas’ highest law enforcement officer has constitutional authority to enforce that election-integrity law. The Court of Criminal Appeals needs to uphold Texas law and the Attorney General’s responsibility to defend it.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the state’s highest criminal court and its rulings on criminal law are final and cannot be appealed to other entities. A large part of the state’s election reform bill passed last year is predicated on the attorney general being able to prosecute election fraud anywhere in the state.

The law survived a federal challenge after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality due to a lack of standing.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.