in Houston, Texas
Official Dallas County tweets called partisan
Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012, 11:18AM CST
By Mark Lisheron

County Judge Clay Jenkins featured at TX Dem. Convention. Boyd Ritchie says he is "someone to watch”.

Depending on your interpretation of this Twitter message, the Dallas County judge is either a very dangerous man or - forgiving the misspelling of Richie, the outgoing chairman of the Texas Democratic Party - someone with a bright political future.

Taxpayers in Dallas County might be surprised to learn they paid for Richie’s endorsement of Jenkins, whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

Maria Arita, who draws her salary from Dallas County as its public information officer, tweeted the message Friday on Dallas County’s Twitter account, @DallasCountyTX, according to in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Dallas County’s social media policy prohibits employees from posting personal messages, reserving the social networks specifically for messages of benefit to Dallas County. For example, something along these lines:

What is Obama's "To Do List" for Congress? What Texans should know!

Judge Jenkins says Obama "All-of-the-Above" Energy Approach is good for Dallas County.

Wade Emmert, Dallas County Republican Party chairman, said those tweets are examples of a pattern by Jenkins of using the network to make partisan political statements.

"So you have a Dallas County spokesperson, using Dallas County equipment, paid for by Dallas County taxpayers to be a spokesperson for Clay Jenkins' campaign and Barack Obama's re-election effort," Emmert told WFAA.

To no one’s surprise, Jenkins said the convention tweet - all of his tweets for that matter - center on the great things happening in Dallas County.

Unrepentant, Jenkins did, however, say he intended to set up a separate county Twitter account with his name on it for the kinds of messages Emmert complained about.

Jenkins did not say whether he of the county public information officer intended to compose those tweets on county time.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Illustration by flickr user Nuchi Corp, used via a Creative Commons license.

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