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Six House Democrats Call on DOJ to Investigate Texas AG- Greg Abbott’s Dirty Dealings with TEF

So far, Greg Abbott has used his power as Attorney-General of Texas to obstruct the release of documents that would shed light on Governor Rick Perry’s oversight of Texas Enterprise Fund and its mishandling of millions of Texas taxpayer dollars.  However, the demand for answers increases from a variety of sources, including Wendy Davis and the press. Now members of Congress are asking the DOJ to investigate dirty dealings between Rick Perry’s Office and the Fund.   Since Abbott used his power as Attorney-General to conceal what may be illegal and unethical activities by Rick Perry, this does not bode well for Abbott’s quest to replace Perry at the Governor’s Office.

On Monday Joaquin Castro, Sheila Jackson Lee and four of their colleagues in congress asked the Department of Justice to investigate possible illegal and unethical actions by the office of Texas Governor Rick Perry and the TEF.

This follows previous calls for an investigation,  including an October 2 letter to outgoing Attorney-General of the United States, Eric Holder signed by the 6 members of the U.S. Congress.

A couple of weeks ago, the result of an audit of TEF resulted in a damning report that rebuked TEF’s lack of oversight.  According to various reports,  TEF inappropriately distributed $550 million to businesses and universities that didn’t even submit grant applications to determine their eligibility for those funds.

It’s amazing how Republicans want people drug tested for food, but they are willing to give away millions of hard earned tax dollars to corporations without so much as a completed application form.

The audit report blasted the Office of Governor Rick Perry since he “has sole authority over negotiating on the state’s behalf when it comes to the fund.”

However, as the state’s Attorney-General, Greg Abbott played an instrumental role in this corruption scandal. In 2004, he ruled against transparency because applications might contain a corporation’s private information.  That made it impossible for independent parties to review applications or the absence of them.  In fact, it wasn’t until 2005, that state law required entities to file formal applications to qualify for grants.

After the report’s release, Wendy Davis called Abbott’s role in the TEF scandal what it is: a cover-up.

Abbott consistently used the Attorney-General’s office to conceal the fact that Perry didn’t require the companies seeking TEF funds to file forma applications. While there was nothing illegal about that during the first two year’s of the TEF’s existence, the 2005 law requiring formal applications raises serious questions.

The Texas Tribune identified five companies; Vought Aircraft, the University of Texas Health Science Center, Maxim Integrated Products, Citgo Petroleum and Cabela’s, that may have inappropriately received funds from the TEF.

This is the scandal that keeps on growing, as Wendy Davis, the press and now members of Congress demand answers. In response to this growing crises at the height of election season, Abbot’s office released a letter from Vought Aircraft, that asks the TEF to consider that letter as a formal application.  So far, that is the only document the Attorney-General’s office has released.

Aside from obstructing the transparency needed to prevent this sort of corruption, Abbott’s campaign benefitted financially from donations by corporations that inappropriately received tax dollars from the TEF.

As Wendy Davis comes within single digits of Abbott’s one time substantial lead, the Attorney-General has to be worried.  The possibility of a DOJ investigation is the last thing that Abbott’s beleaguered campaign needs.

Any light that is shed on Abbott’s dirty dealings is excellent news for the people of Texas, who desperately need a governor who cares about protecting their hard-earned tax dollars from the corruption that Rick Perry built and Greg Abbott covered up.

Image: Lone Star Project 

Adalia Woodbury

Former contributor.

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