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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been announced as a speaker at an October 23 event in Mesquite, Texas, hosted by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) of North Texas. CSPOA, led nationally by former Graham County, Arizona sheriff and militia advocate Richard Mack, is best known for promoting the Posse Comitatus idea that county sheriffs can trump federal law and working to recruit law enforcement officers into the far right.

The CSPOA of North Texas announcement for the event lauds Attorney General Paxton for his “deep passion and respect for our U.S. Constitution,” his “devotion to America’s founding values,” his work “fulfilling his campaign promises to protect the 10th Amendment,” and his “fight against overreaching government regulations which harm Texas jobs and economic growth.”[1]

These themes echo the rhetoric of the so-called “constitutionalist” wing of the far-right with which CSPOA and Richard Mack are most associated. Another announced speaker at the event and CSPOA ally, KrisAnne Hall, epitomizes such views and this movement’s radical assault on civil rights and democracy. Hall, for instance, argues that the 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are unconstitutional – a framework that would gut the legal foundation of federal civil and voting rights enforcement.

Fittingly, Hall has also appeared at a meeting of the white nationalist League of the South and, like CSPOA, worked with former Maryland League of the South leader Michael Peroutka.

The event comes on the heels of CSPOA’s recent Arise USA! Tour organized with Robert David Steele, who until his recent death from COVID-19, was a prolific purveyor of antisemitism who described Jews as “a secret society that believes itself to be exempt from all laws and customs of others;” promoted Holocaust denial; and called for jailing all Jews not sufficiently “loyal to the Republic.”

Ken Paxton has also carried water for the far right. Paxton is perhaps best known for initiating a failed 2020 lawsuit contesting Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 Presidential election in four states.[2] Paxton also recently led the successful effort to reverse a federal injunction against Texas’s draconian abortion law.[3]

Paxton’s appearance at the event signals an ongoing move in Texas toward promoting far-right approaches to policing by institutionalizing relationships with CSPOA. For example, in July, IREHR reported that the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) was offering credit toward proficiency certificates for law officers that attended CSPOA events. TCOLE has since defended this policy in communications with IREHR.

Other listed speakers for the event include Maria Espinoza of the anti-immigrant group, The Remembrance Project; retired Sheriff and former National Sheriffs Association President, Harold Eavenson;  Rachel Malone, Texas Director of the militia-supporting Gun Owners of America; Texas State Senator Bob Hall; and Shelley Malone, a Dallas salon owner who gained national notoriety for defying a COVID-19-related stay-at-home order in 2020 and gaining support from the paramilitary Oath Keepers for her actions.[4]

The event is slated to be held at the La Prada Church of Christ in Mesquite, Texas.


[1] Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association of North Texas. Conference Speakers. Accessed October 15, 2021.

[2] Platoff, Emma. U.S. Supreme Court throws out Texas lawsuit contesting 2020 election results in four battleground states. The Texas Tribune. December 11, 2020.

[3] Marimow, Ann E. Appeals court reinstates Texas’s six-week abortion ban, two days after it was lifted. Washington Post. October 8, 2021.

[4] Oath Keepers. Oath Keepers at the Open Texas Rally in Dallas for Shelley Luther. YouTube. May 5, 2020.; Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. About this Event. Accessed October 15, 2021.

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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