|(a) The party chair (all references to "party chair"
in this section refer to both the state chair and the county chair)
may contact the SOS Elections Division for advice and assistance in
election matters in accordance with §31.004 of the Texas Election
Code. (Attorneys with the Elections Division may be reached toll-free
by calling 1-800-252-2216. There is no charge for this service.)
(b) The SOS shall not provide primary-fund reimbursement
for legal expenses arising as a result of the negligent or wrongful
acts of the party chair or a member of the state or county executive
committee, or the failure of the party chair or a member of the state
or county executive committee to comply with the Texas Election Code,
the Texas Administrative Code, or advice provided by the Elections
Division in accordance with §31.004.
(c) In addition to any other requirements or limitations
under this section and Chapter 173 of the Texas Election Code, the
SOS shall not provide primary-fund reimbursement for legal expenses
unless the party chair complies with the following preconditions before
any legal expenses are incurred subject to appropriation by the Texas
(1) The party chair requests in writing by mail, fax,
or email to the Director of the Elections Division of the SOS to retain
legal counsel the cost of which shall may be paid for with primary
funds and the Director approves such request for the expenditure of
primary funds in writing.
(2) The request shall include the style and cause number
of the lawsuit for which the party chair seeks to retain legal counsel,
the name of the attorney he or she wishes to retain, a brief summary
of the facts that are the subject of the lawsuit, the attorney's hourly
rate, and an estimate of the legal expenses necessary for legal services
rendered in defense of the party chair, on behalf of the chair, the
executive committee, and the party.
(3) The SOS shall not reimburse legal expenses if the
county chair fails to notify the SOS of litigation within thirty (30)
business days following the receipt of service of process.
(d) By failing to obtain prior written approval as
provided in subsection (c) of this section, the party chair, on behalf
of the chair, the executive committee, and the party, waives any right
to primary-fund reimbursement for any legal costs or expenses incurred.
(e) Subject to appropriation by the Texas Legislature,
notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this chapter, and only
if prior written approval is obtained as set forth in subsection (c)
of this section, the SOS may provide primary-fund reimbursement for
legal fees and expenses incurred by the party chair only for a lawsuit
commenced against the chair which seeks to include a candidate's name
on the Primary Election ballot after the chair either rejected the
candidate's application or declared the candidate ineligible or which
seeks to exclude a candidate's name from the Primary Election ballot
after the chair declined to do so.
(f) The party chair seeking reimbursement for legal
expenses shall provide to the SOS copies of all invoices related to
legal expenses, along with all relevant pleadings, docket sheets,
judgments and orders in the case, and any additional information requested
by the SOS prior to approval or rejection of legal fee reimbursement
from the primary fund.
(g) The SOS shall review all submitted documentation
and invoices for legal expenses and make a determination as to the
compensability and reasonableness of the legal fees and expenses.
Upon SOS approval and subject to appropriation by the Texas Legislature,
the SOS shall reimburse legal expenses the lesser of the hourly rate
submitted or the hourly rate reflected in the State Bar of Texas--Hourly
Rates Report at the time the final invoice for reimbursement of legal
expenses is submitted.
(h) All legal invoices, pleadings, correspondence,
and any additional information requested by the SOS submitted to the
SOS for reimbursement are subject to the Public Information Act (Chapter
552, Texas Government Code), and the party chair is advised not to
submit any documents that are subject to attorney-client or work product