Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor of Texas continues to show voters that he is ethically challenged. Everything from his nod and wink to the abortion barbie poster campaign to his campaign taking money from people who got $42 million from The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas when Abbott was absent from funding over sight meetings tells the voters of Texas that Abbott will compromise any ethical principle for political gain.
In the legal profession, the duty of loyalty owed to a client prohibits an attorney (or a law firm) from representing any other party with interests adverse to those of a current client. It’s a conflict of interest, that is in direct violation of the professional ethical standards that lawyers are bound by.
When a state Attorney-General takes money from any other party with interests that are adverse to those of the people of his state, he is also in a conflict of interest.
As the Attorney-General of Texas, Greg Abbot knows this. So why is Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign accepting money from the PACS of law firms that do bond work? As stated on the Texas Attorney-General’s website, one of Abbott’s duties is to “approve public bond issues.”
According to records, Abbott got $200,000 over two years from PACs by lawyers whose firms would benefit from favorable approvals on public bond issues by the Attorney General. Obviously, they are not donating to Abbott’s campaign for altruistic reasons.
On a separate conflict of interest matter; Abbott did nothing about the obvious conflict of interest between William J. White’s duties as Chairman of the Texas Finance Commission and his work as a senior executive for Cash America Internation, a payday lender.
Yet, Abbott’s campaign targeted Wendy Davis because her firm served as co-bond counsel for several public-sector clients. He justified a proposed prohibition against lawmakers from serving as bond counsel for any public entity because it would give them a “personal incentive to authorize more debt.”
By his own logic, Abbott is admitting that because his campaign received money from the PACs of firms that do bond work, the receipt of that money influences his duty as the Attorney General regarding final approvals of bond deals. At the very least, there is an appearance that Abbott has a personal icentive to authorize bond deals that benefit contributors to his campaign.
This isn’t the first time that Abbott’s campaign accepted donations from individuals hoping to buy political favors from the Attorney General who dreams of replacing Rick Perry.
Lone Star Project exposed Abbott’s neglect of his oversight duties at The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. Couple that with the fact that Abbott donors who sought and received $42 million tax payer dollars from CPRIT and one could see where Abbott had a personal incentive to skip the organization’s oversight meetings.
It’s pretty obvious that Abbott’s concern about conflicts of interest is consistent with his hypocrisy and double speak in other areas. Abbott’s concern for ethical standards is, in reality, limited to how he can use them to attack his political opponents. The most recent example of the ethics that Greg Abbott practices is seen in his refusal to denounce those “Abortion Barbie” campaign posters.
Abbott’s ethical challenges when it comes to conflicts of interest coincide with his firm belief in equal pay while practicing a policy of pay discrimination as Attorney-General. It is completely consistent with having a white supremacist advise him on education policy while saying he cares ever so deeply about the education of every child in Texas.
Considering his track record, Greg Abbott trying to preach about ethical standards has as much credibility as Cliven Bundy talking about his “knowledge” of black people.
Image: Progress Texas