Are Constable Raffles Illegal?

I was quoted in DMN today for an article on the Dallas Constables allegedly selling raffle tickets to finance their campaigns. My entire contribution, soup to nuts, was

Robert Guest, a local criminal defense lawyer, said he believes the state’s anti-gambling law prohibits elected officials from using raffles to raise campaign money.

How did I come to that conclusion? It should come as no surprise that I’ve never actually represented someone for illegal raffling. Such prosecutions are rare. In fact, in my 6 years of lawyering I’ve never seen one.

So when DMN calls and asks for my opinion on the legality of a constable using raffles to finance their campaign I harnessesed the power of google to find the Texas raffle law.

To the occupations code, Section 2002. the Charitable Raffles Enabling Act.

§ 2002.051. RAFFLE AUTHORIZED. A qualified organization
may conduct a raffle subject to the conditions imposed by this

Ok, so what’s a qualified organization? I can tell you what it’s not.

(3) does not devote a substantial part of its
activities to attempting to influence legislation and does not
participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any
candidate for public office in any manner, including by publishing
or distributing statements or making campaign contributions

Ergo, I believe that a Dallas constable selling tickets to finance his campaign is a no go. Lacking omniscience there is the possibility that some other statute allows for this activity. I didn’t check the Local Government Code, inter alia. Barring that, I wouldn’t sell raffle tickets to finance my election.

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