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Video posted to social media leads to ethics complaint in Crowley school board race

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A video posted to Facebook is causing a stir in the race for a spot on the Crowley school board.

Incumbent Mia Hall has been accused by her opponent of violating the state’s election code when she used a district produced video for her reelection campaign.

Hall told the Star-Telegram on Wednesday that the original video was first shown in October as part of a series the district produced to highlight board members’ contributions. The district serves 16,500 students in southern Tarrant County.

The video Hall posted to her Facebook on Monday includes a logo reading “Re-elect Dr. Mia Hall” and ends with a four-second still image of Hall standing next to the campaign logo with a purple backdrop.

Her opponent, Melondy Doddy-Muñoz, said she filed an ethics charge with the Texas Ethics Commission. She believes Hall violated state election and education codes by using the district video for her campaign.

Crowley school board member Mia Hall used a district video for her reelection campaign. Her opponent said using the district video is a violation of the election code.
Crowley school board member Mia Hall used a district video for her reelection campaign. Her opponent said using the district video is a violation of the election code.

The election code referenced states: “An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.”

The education code states: “the board of trustees of an independent school district may not use state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.”

Doddy-Muñoz argues Hall violated the codes because the video was paid for and produced by the district.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Ethics Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“As someone deeply committed to the integrity of our educational institutions and the responsible use of public funds, I find the deliberate actions by current Crowley ISD Trustee Dr. Mia Hall and her campaign extremely troubling,” Doddy-Muñoz said in press release Wedensday.

The news release came from Doddy-Muñoz’s political consultant, William Schlitz.

“I’ve been doing campaigns since 1992 and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a blatant attempt by an incumbent candidate for office running for reelection, to take material paid for and published by a government entity,” Schlitz said.

“Not only are you misusing it for political purposes, which I think is a clear violation, both Texas election code and education code. But she had the audacity to put ‘Paid for by the Dr. Mia Hall campaign.’ I think that’s honestly what was really was shocking about this.”

Schlitz also said that parents should be concerned about their children appearing in “a campaign advertisement” and compared it to the incident in the Keller school district in which Central High students were filmed without parental permission by a evangelical Dutch film crew.

Hall finished third in the March 5 Democratic primary for Precinct 1 Tarrant County commissioner.

She said she is “appalled and disgusted” by the allegations and called them “aimless attacks.”

“I have proudly served on the board of Crowley ISD for nearly nine years and I have always tried to carry myself in a manner that would never be a disgrace to my service to the board my family or my employer,” Hall said.

Hall said she is taking the allegations seriously but she believes the video is the public domain and therefore can be used for her campaign.

“If the Ethics Commission has any questions for me, I’m happy to answer those questions,” Hall said. “I would do whatever they require. I’m proud of the work that I do. My integrity, my character are very important to me.”

Hall said she believes there could be an ulterior motive to the allegations.

Schlitz is also a consultant for Roderick Miles, who is in a runoff with Kathleen Hicks in the Democratic primary for Precinct 1 county commissioner.

On Monday, Hall — who finished right behind Miles with nearly 25% of the vote — endorsed Hicks.

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