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March 21, 2017      6:28 PM

Rural GOP House lawmakers alarmed by "fraudulent" letters promoting school vouchers

“We've gone to complete new lows in public campaigns” said former Rep. Hardcastle; Rep. Clardy: “I’m going to defend the people of my district and protect their identity”

Rural Republican Texas House members are sounding the alarm after a significant number of them say they received letters promoting school vouchers from what at first appeared to be constituents but turned out to apparently be sent by someone in Austin. But the actual sender of the letters is a mystery.

The letters, described by members who received them as “fraudulent,” included the names and addresses of constituents but were not signed. And even though constituents’ addresses were used from places like Gatesville and Vernon, the envelopes had an Austin postmark.

One of the letters sent to Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, included the name and address of former Rep. Rick Hardcastle, who told Quorum Report that the tactic represents “a new low.” Hardcastle said Rep. Springer contacted him after receiving the letter with Hardcastle’s name on it. Hardcastle was taken aback that someone would impersonate him and completely misrepresent his opinion.

“I'm not a voucher guy and everybody knows I'm not a voucher guy," Hardcastle said.

By Eleanor Dearman and Scott Braddock

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