HOUSTON – The Texas Rangers executed a search warrant Friday at the office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
Sources told KPRC 2 that the warrant was related to a contract for COVID-19 vaccine outreach, but no official word has been released.
“On one level it certainly is [a big deal] because search warrants do not issue unless a magistrate concludes there has likely been a crime committed,” KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said.
Sources say investigators were interested in county computers that may contain information about an $11 million contract award to a company called “Elevate Strategies.”
A deal with the company to promote COVID-19 vaccinations was later rescinded after Hidalgo said the contract became politicized.
Back in 2021, UT Public Health, Elevates Strategies, the National Association of Latino Elected, Appointed Officials Educational Fund, and “Kickin Ass Takin Names, LLC DBA Texas Tool Belt” proposals were received by March 8, 2021, according to county documents.
Five months later, the county purchasing department recommended Elevates Strategies and the commissioner’s court voted 4-1 to hire the company. On the day Elevates Strategies started its work, however, Hidalgo canceled the contract.
“I think there were some eyes rolling and some heads shaking because this bid did not seem to be either economically sound or morally sound on multiple levels,” Wice said.
Attorney Ashlee McFarlane released the following statement:
“The Judge has the strictest ethical guidelines ever imposed in Harris County and that’s been ironclad from day one. This is nothing but political theater since the devices would have been provided on request. What’s missing is any shred of evidence, but what’s in abundance is politics.”
No criminal charges have been filed.
The Texas Rangers also released the following statement on Friday:
“At the request of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers (DPS) in conjunction with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors and investigators, served multiple search warrants this morning. We would refer additional questions to the DA’s Office.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the matter.