Federal Judge Dismisses Tea Party Group Empower Texans' Request for Protection From Prosecution

AUSTIN — A federal judge dismissed a civil rights lawsuit Friday from the conservative group Empower Texans, ruling that there wasn't a legitimate threat the group would be prosecuted.The tea party group sued on Feb. 28 to prevent Attorney General Ken Paxton and the district attorneys of Travis, Tarrant and Midland County from launching a criminal investigation into its use of a fictitious entity, the "Texas Ethics Disclosure Board," during the primary election season. Representatives from Empower Texans said they plan to keep using the name and claimed the fear of prosecution "has had a chilling effect on [their] speech," a violation of the group's First Amendment rights.The organization sent voters mailers that listed the lobbying clients of Fort Worth Rep. Charlie Geren's wife, Mindy Ellmer. One person in Tarrant County lodged a complaint with Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore, claiming Empower Texans' use of "Texas Ethics Disclosure Board" on the mailers violated a law prohibiting people from impersonating government officials.   Continue reading...

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