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Complaint filed against Cruz campaign for “check enclosed” stunt

This ought to be fun.

A liberal Texas political group has filed a formal complaint alleging that a recent fundraising solicitation mailed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign violated state law.

The solicitation came in an envelope featuring a return address in official government type and the words “check enclosed.” The “check” was a fake check made out to Cruz’s campaign, accompanied by a missive asking the recipient to send in a “matching donation.”

Such fundraising techniques are relatively common, but in Texas they may now be illegal under a law passed last year by the state Legislature.

The law, House Bill 1265, authored by Houston Democrat Gene Wu, required solicitations resembling government notices, checks or negotiable invoices to include, “in at least 18-point type,” the words “SPECIMEN-NON-NEGOTIABLE.”

Cruz’s mailer said — in small type — “this check is a facsimile not redeemable or negotiable and has no cash value.”

The liberal group, Progress Texas, filed the complaint Monday with the Attorney General’s Office, according to a copy obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

“This is the kind of mail my legislation was trying to prevent,” Wu said in a statement about the complaint. “It certainly breaks the spirit of the law, and I agree that the Texas’ Consumer Protection Division should look into whether or not it breaks the letter of the law, as well.”

You can see a copy of the complaint here. I can only imagine what the reaction to this filing was like at the AG’s office; I’m guessing they handled it by holding it between two fingers, on the corner of the paper, with a pinched look on their faces. This is a new law, and I imagine it’s the first complaint made under it. Seems pretty straightforward here, but you never know once the lawyers get involved. I have no idea what happens next, procedurally or timewise or whatever else, though I’m sure we’ll hear about it one way or another. Any lawyers out there want to speculate? Progress Texas’ press release is here, and Trail Blazers, the Current, and the HuffPo have more.

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  1. Mainstream says:

    I got a similar letter recently from a national political party committee. Offhand, I would not think political solicitations would fall under the law, as protected by the First Amendment, but I have not researched this at all.

  2. Joshua ben bullard says:

    I am not a lawyer but they would have to show that ted Cruz intentionally and knowingly violated the brand new law,with the good faith attempt that his campaign did make with similar verbage,there is not a prosecutor,this side of the missippi river,that would bring charges,perhaps a small ethics fine but a law violation=not.