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Woodlands Township Use of Taxpayer Dollars on Political Campaign Deserves Full Investigation

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Woodlands Township Use of Taxpayer Dollars on Political Campaign Deserves Full Investigation

Alarming report raises legal, ethical questions about officials’ actions

Contracts and expenditures have surfaced revealing that The Woodlands Township hired a political consulting firm to identify, track and target voters ahead of this November’s incorporation vote. 

Montgomery County newspaper The Golden Hammer first published the contracts and invoices on its website, which show the Township has spent at least $80,000 in taxpayer funds on a pro-incorporation political campaign. 

Texas law expressly prohibits public funds from being spent for political purposes.

“This stunning revelation represents a betrayal of the public’s trust and a disturbing abuse of power, ” said Richard Franks, local resident and Preserve The Woodlands Advisory Board Member. “This is beyond the pale and should be immediately and thoroughly investigated.”

According to the newly revealed documents, the Township hired Cooksey Communications, a Dallas-based political firm, to provide campaign strategy and voter identification to assist in the pro-incorporation campaign. $35,000.00 of the taxpayer-funded effort was earmarked for providing voter list development, designing a campaign theme along with three direct mail pieces, banners, signage, powerpoint presentations, a one-page informational handout for meetings, advertisements, and “monitoring social media platforms day-to-day and provide pre-approved responses.”

According to one board member, this contract did not go before the full board for approval, unlike contracts of similar expense.

Earlier this month, Preserve The Woodlands alerted residents to mounting ethical questions about The Township’s record of spending and lack of transparency. 

In response to a Preserve The Woodlands’ public information request the Township responded that it had spent only $375 on 5 posters. 

“The Township Board is spending taxpayer funds on a campaign promoting propositions A&B,” said Jason Halstead, local resident and business professional and Preserve The Woodlands Advisory Board Member. “It’s scary that this is happening without any accountability to the taxpayers. It’s clear they were concealing the true nature of their spending of public dollars and now we know why.”