Top Texas Republicans have been key promoters of “2000 Mules,” a debunked film by GOP political operative Dinesh D’Souza that falsely claims there was significant voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, which oversees investigations into voter fraud, screened the movie this summer, according to a recent Associated Press story that detailed ongoing dysfunction and politicization in Paxton’s office.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and three other Houston-area legislators sponsored a watch party at a local church in June, according to the church’s website.
And Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has a history of spreading political falsehoods on social media, recently cited the film as part of the reason he continues to believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
In June — at the same time that millions of Americans were tuning into the first Congressional hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — Miller was scheduled as a special guest speaker at a screening of “2000 Mules” by the Dallas Jewish Conservatives, according to the group’s website.
Also featured at the event was Sidney Powell, a Dallas lawyer and Trump ally who currently faces a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by a voting machine company that she and other conspiracists have targeted. The State Bar of Texas has also pursued disciplinary action against Powell for filing a lawsuit speculating that fraud was committed. …
Voting rights groups similarly say they fear the film will fuel chaos in the upcoming midterm elections and could be a pretext for more restrictive voting laws in the future.
Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of the Texas chapter of the watchdog group Common Cause, said the showing of the film by Paxton’s office is particularly concerning because of Paxton’s longstanding embrace of unfounded voter fraud conspiracies — and his role in prosecuting electoral crimes, which are exceedingly rare. (Since 2005, the Texas Attorney General’s website says the office has prosecuted 155 people for 534 election fraud offenses — good for about 0.0048% of the 11.1 million Texas votes cast in the 2020 presidential contest alone, and not even a rounding error’s worth of all votes cast in the state over the last 17 years.)
“Paxton hosting a watch party for this completely debunked work of fiction is next-level disinformation,” Gutierrez said. “It’s not like (Paxton) is a person who has no impact on elections — he is constantly doing things to impact elections. … It’s all kinds of alarming and sets off all the red flags.”