By Bobby Cervantes July 7, 2015
Houston Chronicle

Texas Republicans want to know what Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa knew about voter fraud in the Rio Grande Valley when he led the party there in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds.

In a statement Tuesday, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler said Hinojosa “needs to come clean with the people of Texas” about whether he “personally participated in the corrupt practice of using politqueras to commit voter fraud.”

“Voters deserve to know whether Chairman Hinojosa knowingly oversaw institutional voter fraud or if he simply turned a blind eye to fraudulent practices that were routinely committed by Democrat candidates in South Texas,” Mechler said.

The statement followed an NPR story that chronicled the rise and prevalence of so-called “politiqueras” that candidates, nearly all Democrats, in the Rio Grande Valley have used to corral votes and win local elections. The article cited a 2013 U.S. Department of Justice finding that more public officials were convicted for corruption in South Texas than in any other region in the country, prompting the creation of an anti-corruption task force within the FBI.

Mechler also slammed Hinojosa for his party’s focus on repealing the state’s stringent Voter ID law, calling it “comical that Chairman Hinojosa runs all over the state denouncing Voter ID, when the FBI is investigating voter fraud in his backyard.”

In 2007, Hinojosa was the elected chairman of the Cameron County Democratic Party before he came to lead the state party as chairman. He could not be immediately reached for comment.