Hard Fight 04, Dirty Fight '06, Court Fight '07

Ranking Dallas County Republicans face libel charges over 2006 election allegations.

Dallas County has been a battleground in the last two statewide elections, with Democrats viewing it as a key target district for 2008. Now allegations of libel and deliberate voter suppression in the 2006 elections by two ranking Republicans have hit the legal system.

According to a complaint filed on Monday in Dallas County District Court, Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, Dallas County Republican Party Chair Kenn George, the Dallas County Republican Party and Goolsby's PR firm, Allyn & Co., are being sued for libeling Goolsby's 2006 Democrat opponent Harriet Miller by falsely accusing her of voter fraud, then turning that allegation into election fliers.

Goolsby narrowly fought off Miller in 2004. At some point after that, he seemingly became convinced that Miller had ballot-stuffed, but waited until Oct. 23, 2006 to file the complaint - two weeks before Goolsby was set to face Miller for the seat again. The basis for the complaint? Miller had received lots of African-American votes in a primarily African-American precinct.

Suddenly, lots of last-minute anonymous (and therefore illegal under state campaign law) mail-outs went out, repeating the charge. That was in addition to mail from the Goolsby campaign, and door hangers on election day, claiming Miller was under investigation for voter fraud. There were also anonymously-dispatched mailers warning recipients they could go to jail if they committed voter fraud, which the Lone Star Project claims was a deliberate attempt to suppress the African-American vote.

What then happened was that the Dallas County DA never brought charges. But the publicity firestorm wrecked the Miller campaign. Now Miller, with the Lone Star Project, is suing Goolsby and George for libel. They could also face criminal charges for filing the original complaint when they knew it was fraudulent.

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