Meeting top officials, like the VP and POTUS, now seems to be a crime. Some see it as an abuse of office, and Judge Lina Hidalgo was recently accused.
The complaint is a result of Hildago’s press conference on November 10. This was the day after news of the Texas Rangers executing search warrants linked to an $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract from 2021 went live.
During the event, Hidalgo accused District Attorney Kim Ogg of leaking the new warrants to the media. Even though they were already up on the district clerk’s website and available to the public.
Hidalgo made her comments on county property during the press conference. It live-streamed on the Office of the County Judge’s official social media accounts. It was essentially sealing her fate.
Under the Texas Election Code, an elected office can’t engage in political advertising. Doing so is a Class A misdemeanor. Under the Penal Code, misuse of government property, services, or personnel constitutes an Abuse of Official Capacity. This could be classified as a misdemeanor or state jail felony based on the value of the misused property.
The indictment of three of Hidalgo’s former staffers on felony charges about the COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract happened last year. Meanwhile, the county judge is under review for alleged participation in the scheme favoring Elevate Strategies while sidelining the University of Texas Health Science Center.
The press conference’s removal from the county’s social media pages did not stop attorney Mark McCaig from filing a civil complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission. He also filed a criminal complaint with Harris County Constable Precinct 4.
In late July, Hidalgo took a leave of absence while hospitalized for depression. But she returned to the office in early October.
On Monday, Hidalgo warmly welcomed Vice President Harris to Houston for an event sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic body. Hidalgo did not stop there. She also took to X to thank Harris and President Biden for supporting the Latino community.
Hidalgo wrote: “Excited to join forces with VP Harris in Harris County discussing the Biden-Harris administration’s support of the Latino community. The $1 billion received in ARP investments serves all our communities in entrepreneurship, childhood education, healthcare access, and more.”
The filing of the abuse of office complaint happened a day after she met with Vice President Harris. The county judge’s office has not been available for comment on the new investigation.
County judges like Hidalgo in Texas are the highest executive in their respective counties. Harris County is the nation’s third-largest, and it houses Houston, the largest city in Texas with a population well over 2 million.
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