More legal issues continue to plague Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo as a criminal complaint has been filed and referred to the Texas Rangers for investigation just a day after meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris.
The complaint stems from a press conference Hidalgo held earlier this month on November 10, the day after news broke that the Texas Rangers would be executing search warrants in relation to an $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract the county awarded to a highly connected Democratic strategist in 2021.
Hidalgo’s comments were made on county property and livestreamed on the Office of the County Judge’s official social media accounts.
During the event, Hidalgo accused District Attorney Kim Ogg of leaking the new warrants to the media, although they had already been posted to the district clerk’s website and were available to the public.
Under Texas Election Code, using an elected office to engage in political advertising is a Class A misdemeanor, and under the Penal Code, misuse of government property, services, or personnel constitutes an Abuse of Official Capacity, which could be classified as a misdemeanor or state jail felony depending on the value of the thing misused.
Three of Hidalgo’s former staffers were indicted on felony charges in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract last year, but the county judge is now under review for her alleged participation in the bid-rigging scheme that sidelined the University of Texas Health Science Center in favor of Elevate Strategies.
Following the press conference, which was removed from the county’s social media pages, attorney Mark McCaig filed a civil complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission and 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 office in early October.
On Monday, Hidalgo welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to Houston for an event sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Hildalgo made a post on X Monday, sharing her thanks to Harris and President Biden for the support of the Latino community.
“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,” Hidalgo said.
The County Judge’s office has not immediately been available for comment on the new investigation.
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