The Bell County Attorney’s Office is looking into a complaint filed against a Killeen Independent School District school board candidate.
Lan Carter, a candidate in Saturday’s election, filed a complaint against candidate Aya Eneli with a criminal investigator for the Bell County Attorney’s Office, claiming that Eneli conducted an illegal raffle at her campaign kickoff party March 30.
Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols said Wednesday he’s in the preliminary stages of looking into the complaint.
“This is a situation where there may have been a raffle,” he said. “I would not characterize it as an investigation. We had a complaint made to our office and we’re in the very early process of looking into it.”
Although fliers for Eneli’s campaign kickoff event stated there would be a raffle, Eneli said it was brought to her attention that a raffle where participants pay for tickets would be illegal. Instead, Eneli said she held an “auction” and attendees received a free ticket to win items.
“I have personally spoken to the Texas Ethics Commission and we are not in violation of any laws,” Eneli said in a statement to the Herald last month.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Eneli said she had not been contacted by the county attorney’s office.
“That’s news to me that a complaint was filed,” she said Wednesday. “I have not been contacted and certainly I encourage them to look into it. I know that we did not violate (any rules). I’ve spoken personally to Lan about it. I don’t know who she’s getting her information from. She wasn’t there in person.”
Carter unofficially dropped out of the race Wednesday by endorsing fellow candidate Marvin Rainwater, who, along with Eneli and Brockley Moore, are running for the Place 4 seat in the election on Saturday.
The Texas Ethics Commission cannot make rulings on whether a specific case is a violation.
However, it can provide information about the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act, which states that legal raffles can only be conducted by certain nonprofit organizations.
A raffle that violates the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act is considered to be illegal gambling under the Texas Penal Code, according to Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office. Conducting an illegal raffle is a Class A misdemeanor and participation in one is a Class C misdemeanor.
At her kickoff event, Eneli said she accepted donated door prizes, which were listed on her campaign finance reports.
“I hope we can get back to focusing on the well-being of our children and not all the negativity that seems to be swirling,” Eneli said.
Ultimately, Eneli said, it’s up to the voters to look at the information presented and choose the best candidate.
“The timing of all of this is really interesting. I understand that one of the statements that has been put out is that there’s only two people who have a chance of winning, so obviously, somebody must see me as a threat and wants to make sure that they ... impact the results of the election,” Eneli said. “I think our voters are smart and they can look at my record for what it is.”