Wendy Davis Slams Greg Abbott for His Donors Getting $42 Million in Taxpayer Money

Wendy Davis

Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott’s murky past with taxpayer money while on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is coming back to haunt him and today, Texas State Senator and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis slammed him for his silence. Awkward.

Last year, the Lone Star Project exposed Abbott’s “failure to fulfill his responsibilities as a member of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) oversight board. Abbott looked the other way as taxpayer dollars were given away to businesses whose grant requests received low review scores or were not reviewed at all.” They asked, “Why did Abbott fail to attend a single CPRIT oversight board meeting?”

Maybe this sounds like no biggie, but that’s until you get to the money involved. Abbott donors raked in over 42 million taxpayer dollars while he apparently “looked the other way.” The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas is Republican Governor Rick Perry’s baby and it was a signature accomplishment until several years ago when a criminal investigation into its operations was opened. The voters approved the creation of this agency in 2007, in order to distribute up to $3 billion for cancer research.

The Republican Attorney General was serving on the oversight board as his donors received $42 million in taxpayer funds. In fact, the Lone Star Report continued, “Since 2001, Greg Abbott has received nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions from a handful of individuals who are connected to CPRIT. Companies connected to the Abbott contributors have in turn received $42,800,861 in grants from CPRIT.” That doesn’t look so great.

There are at least ten Abbott donors with ties to this cancer prevention board. As an example of how this works, there are two big Republican players who are also major donors of Abbott’s, James Leininger and Peter O’Donnell. Together they gave Abbott over $400,000 since 2001, and together they received almost $25 million in taxpayer money for “grants” in spite of poor or no reviews.

Several officials had to resign after awarding the unjustified grants, and one official was indicted over an $11 million grant.

Looking the other way isn’t a great quality for an Attorney General, unless you’re intending on grifting from the taxpayers and then you’d really want an AG who would look the other way. The AG is supposed to serve justice and the people. While it would be easy to dismiss this as the Davis campaign looking for dirt, and certainly they are, it’s hardly their fault that this happened under Abbott’s watch. The fact that his donors benefited from it to such a large degree makes it a matter worthy of public discussion. It deserves a response from Abbott, and the public deserves to know about it, because those are their funds. With an indictment under their belt, this can’t be dismissed as partisan mud slinging. It’s real.

Wendy Davis’ communications director Zac Petkanas issued a statement on Abbott’s “potentially unethical behavior” (their words, not mine — my words would be that he is either too lazy to be Attorney General or he is too unethical to be Attorney General), slamming him for his silence on this matter. Petkanas said, “Under his watch, Greg Abbott’s largest contributors received tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in contracts with almost no oversight or accountability. However, instead of addressing his potentially unethical behavior while serving on the CPRIT board, Abbott has refused to come clean and discuss his involvement with the organization’s shady activities that led to several officials resigning and one criminal indictment. Texans are sick and tired of the same business as usual from Greg Abbott.”

This isn’t the only issue Abbott is silent on, he’s also avoiding discussing equal pay for women. Here’s a clue: When a Texas Republican won’t discuss their stance on women’s issues, it’s probably not good.

18 Replies to “Wendy Davis Slams Greg Abbott for His Donors Getting $42 Million in Taxpayer Money”

  1. I guess those are the values that the Texas baggers talk about when they comment on why Davis is not right for Texas

  2. I hope the Davis campaign stays on the trail as I am sure it will lead straight to Perry. Hopefully that will dash his hopes for the presidency. It isnt exactly a secret he wants to try again.

  3. What was his name, Something White, ran against Perry a few years ago. Bob White maybe? Anyway, Perry refused to debate the man, he refused to debate his opponent and he won, does that tell you anything about Texas?

    Wendy, we need you!

  4. Yeah it was White who wanted the debate but Perry refused. White wanted a battle of wits but its not fair to fight an unarmed man.

  5. I hope the Davis campaign wipes the floor with Abbott! This state has gone to hell in a hand basket! I’m 7th generation Texan and ashamed of what has happened in my home state. Go Wendy!!!

  6. Texas will no longer be able support the federal gov any more if Wendy wins Texas. The first carpetbagger sent from the Capital to rule Texas didn’t end well with Texans.. It’s ironic his name was Gov. Davis.. He too also had a newspaper fiasco. There is plenty dirt and many Texans scorned by both candidates just on the red-light camera topics alone. Know your facts before you jump on a sinking ship all because R. Perry left you with a sour taste. Dont be selfish Texans. Thats not like us

  7. Texas doesnt support the federal government. You give no reasons for your statements. Can we assume you are just told to say that?

    Texas wont survive with a tea party governor

  8. They’ve been threatening to secede for as long as I can remember. Doubt they could survive the first hurricane that strikes without help from the Federal government they purportedly ‘support; but maybe they should try it.

  9. are you that stupid whats wendy got to do with a governor davis from the 1800 s hpws texs nt going to support washington any more rick perry left a bank rupt state with schools in south texas closing with the idea of making texas schools for profit what elses sinking ship ?i guess you think greg abbott will do great after rick perry voter supression gutting voting rights act ,voter id ,gerrymndering our voting districts gesus my district was represented by martinfrost the n it went to oete sessions now marc vaeasey whose next .

  10. It’s redistribution of wealth/income,alright, but we dare not ask Abbott or any other RW true believer in trickle-down economics about it. We already know what they’ll say–redistribution of wealth/income flows in only one direction–downward, and downward redistribution of wealth/income is evil.

  11. Just like many of today’s cellphones and computers, TexasO, there’s an app that can be used to either verify or disprove your claim. I found it at PolitiFact. Texas does NOT support the federal government as you claim. Texas receives more funding from the federal government than it sends to it.

    “The figures from our sources show two different trends. On an annual basis between 1981 and 2003, TX almost always paid more in federal taxes than it got back from Uncle Sam. But since 2003 the reverse has been true, with TX receiving more than it paid in five out of seven years, which is close to routine.”
    We rate Maddow’s statement as Mostly True.
    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2011/apr/22/rachel-maddow/msnbc-host-rachel-maddow-says-texas-routinely-rece/

    I also checked another source and discovered that TX receives .91 in return for every dollar it pays in federal taxes.
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/02/is-your-state-a-net-giver-or-taker-of-federal-taxes/

  12. is this diatribe for real? it sounds like a davis campaign stump speech. i guess you don’t have to pretend to be ‘news’ anymore, just land a domain name and post whatever.

  13. This from someone who voted one way on a transportation bill one way, her outfit got a fat contract that include a $400/hr consulting fee for her, then she switched her vote on a nearly identical bill. And STILL has NEVER recused herself from ANY vote, despite a raft of pubic sector clients who pay her. Talk about throwing bricks in a glass house!

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