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Abbott rocked by scandals

by: PDiddie on Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 07:06:44 AM CST

(A great summary of everything in the extended entry! - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

The Austin American-Statesman reports on Greg Abbott's misuse of state resources with an appropriately misleading headline. They manage to get the story right, however (bold emphasis mine throughout):
It looks like a scene from TV's "Cops."            

Instead, the arrest video highlighted in a campaign commercial for Attorney General Greg Abbott was shot by a state employee at taxpayer expense. In fact, video of everything from Abbott's news conferences to the latest bust of suspected child predators can be found on his campaign and official state Web sites -- all shot by his $70,000-a-year state-paid videographer.

In essence, candidate Abbott filed an open records request to Attorney General Abbott for the videos produced by the state. ...

As legal rationale, (Abbott campaign staffer Daniel) Hodge cited one line from a Texas Ethics Commission advisory opinion: "Any candidate may use publicly available government information for campaign purposes and an inherent advantage of incumbency is knowledge of what kind of government information is available to the public."

But the opinion continued, "The lawful advantages of incumbency do not, however, extend to the use of work time of government employees or other government resources to gather or otherwise prepare information for campaign purposes."

The legal fine line would be intent: Was the video shot to inform the public or further Abbott's political career?

The attorney general's office has a communications department with six employees, including videographer Neftali Gonzalez. It spends more than $500,000 a year informing the public about the office's activities. ...

Wow.  Is this sort of thing ... unusual?

Bill Burns, a retired state employee who was a videographer for four attorneys general, including Abbott, said the job changed when Abbott took over four years ago. It became more about promoting Abbott, he said, as opposed to doing the legal, internal work.

"There is nothing more important to the Abbott administration than his name identification," Burns said. "It's all about him."

No, I mean ... do other Texas Republican incumbents cross the line like this?

Representatives of Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Monday that they have not mingled video paid for by taxpayers with their campaign work.

OK.  So what exactly is going on here?

"It's stealing the taxpayers' money," said David Van Os, Abbott's Democratic opponent. "Greg Abbott is so sure of his entitlement to public office, he thinks he has a special privilege to steal public equipment and resources to promote himself."

So with the millions of dollars Abbott has raised --and spent on TV -- in contributions from "Swift Boat" Bob Perry and the state's largest corporations, with the apparent violation of the Texas Penal Code regarding abuse of office, this is the article's moneyshot:

He said it's inexplicable why Abbott, who has a $7 million campaign bank account, would rely on state video for his campaigns. ...

Last week, as his commercial aired, Abbott wrote his supporters, complaining about the high cost of campaigning and urging them to donate more.

All-righty then.

Why is Greg Abbott so worried?  What is so worrisome about his name recognition as an incumbent that he has to spend millions of his own money -- as well hundreds of thousands of the taxpayers' dollars -- on television commercials showing his armed agents busting into a house and arresting someone?  Or surrounding himself with laughing children?

Another question:  why isn't Abbott's wheelchair visible in any of his commercials?

And a third question:  Have you seen any polling in the election for Texas Attorney General?  Considering what a publicity whore he is,  do you think that if the polling were favorable to Abbott you would have heard about it in the media by now?

Fund-raising and electoral troubles aside, we're not even close to the end of Abbott's legal woes.  From The Lone Star Project:

Federal Judge Blocks AG Abbott's   Vote Suppression Scheme

A short while ago, US District Court Judge T. John Ward granted a preliminary injunction stopping Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams from enforcing a Texas Law that makes it a crime to simply mail or posses a sealed ballot. This year, Abbott has aggressively prosecuted at least 13 individuals, most of whom had done nothing more then help senior citizens vote by mail.  Virtually all of those prosecuted are minority senior citizens and all are Democrats.  Judge Ward's order says:

For the reasons set forth in the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, the court orders Defendants, Greg Abbott, in his official capacity as the Attorney General for the State of Texas and Roger Williams, in his official capacity as Secretary of State for the State of Texas, their employees, agents, representatives, attorneys, and servants, and all other persons acting in concert, privity, or participation with the defendants, immediately to:

 1. cease enforcing, pending a trial on the merits, Tex. Elec. Code § 86.006(f) under circumstances in which a person, other than the voter, has merely possessed the official ballot or official carrier envelope and such possession is with the actual consent of the voter"
(Source: Preliminary Injunction, Willie Ray v Texas)

Read the Preliminary Injunction Here
Read the Findings of Fact Here

Over the past several months, the Lone Star Project has issued a series of investigative reports highlighting Greg Abbott's abuse of the flawed statute. Read the reports here. The Lone Star Project called for legal action against Abbott's efforts and has supported the legal challenge mounted by the six citizen plaintiffs and the Texas Democratic Party.

The Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle said, "Greg Abbott was not only improperly enforcing a flawed statute, but creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear.  Abbott has acted in a shameless manor, and Judge Ward's order is welcome protection for voters in Texas."

And from Boyd Richie:

The Texas Democratic Party has won a preliminary injunction stopping Attorney General Greg Abbott and Secretary of State Roger Williams from prosecuting voters who are trying to help seniors exercise their right to vote.  Texas Republicans know that they would lose fair and free elections.   That's why they've done everything they can to stack the deck ... even if it means willfully ignoring the law and abusing the power of their office.

It seems clear that the current Attorney General of Texas has created numerous problems for himself through misapplication of several laws, to put it as kindly as possible.

(Strangely, this message from the TDP chairman trumpeting his efforts never once mentions the Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General.  There could be a posting about whatever this means at a later time.)

Tags: Texas, attorney general, 2006, David Van Os, 2006 Elections, (All Tags)

Abbott rocked by scandals | 8 comments | Time to post comments expired.
See the trailer for "Truth be Tolled" (3.66 / 3)
... the documentary on the travesty that is the Trans-Texas Corridor, featuring David Van Os and Hank Gilbert, by clicking here.

(You need Quicktime 7, a free download or upgrade, to view.)

"The Bushite arctic freeze is thawing nationally, but in Texas we're still iced in. Fight 'em on the ice." -- DVO

by: PDiddie @ Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 07:19:05 AM CST
[ Reply ]
Abbott is pulling a "I'm the decider" ploy (5.00 / 2)
He gets to final judge of this ethics. There is no doubt he's a partisan hack out to promote his own career.  And he's using taxpayer money to do it.  I don't care what kind of legal weasel reasoning he's using to justify it either.  He stole from the people of Texas.

And then of course there's the peeking into elderly women's bathrooms.  Shameful!

Abbott is the most corrupt Texas Attorney General ever.

Fight 'em till hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -David Van Os
Get off your ass, so you can put them out on theirs -Hank Gilbert

by: sonia @ Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 13:37:56 PM CST
[ Reply ]
Greg Abbott (1) misused taxpayer funds for campaign ads, (5.00 / 5)
(2) misappropriated evidence from a federal court, (3) lost 152 misappropriated evidentiary x-rays, (4) filed brief in favor of DeLay against Texans, (5) fought against ADA after his disability was accommodated, (6) took $100,000 from Bob Perry when overseeing matters related to the TRCC audit, (7) had his voter fraud window peepers target minorities, and (8) settled his own personal injury case for $10,000,000 before working against personal injury suits.

Most Republicans need a whole career to build up that sort of record.  Does that mean Abbott's career is done?

by: SouthTexasDemocrat @ Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 13:38:09 PM CST
[ Reply ]
It better mean his career is over
The people of Texas can do better than this.  Abbott is more than ethically challenged, he's corrupt.

Fight 'em till hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -David Van Os
Get off your ass, so you can put them out on theirs -Hank Gilbert

by: sonia @ Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 13:40:48 PM CST
[ Parent ]
Injunction Issued on Voter Fraud prosecutions (5.00 / 3)
Houston Chronicle article detailing the case.


by: sccs @ Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 10:16:26 AM CST
[ Reply ]
Yes, good news on the injunction
And the thing that really riles me about those stories is that Abbott did not follow the law.  He did in fact target minority communities to suppress the vote.  It's no coincidence that he only brought charges against Democrats.  The initial concern for fraud centered on the Republican party in Plano - Abbott never touched those guys. Non-partisan - like his big lying corrupt ass!

Phillip Martin had a post about all the vote scam dirt on Abbott, backed up with Lone Star Project files:
Greg Abbott Fails to Investigate Republican Voter Fraud

Greg Abbott is more than a failure, he is corrupt.

Fight 'em till hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -David Van Os
Get off your ass, so you can put them out on theirs -Hank Gilbert

by: sonia @ Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 19:27:57 PM CST
[ Parent ]
AAS passes judgment, raps Abbott's knuckles (4.00 / 4)
with this editorial;  John Kelso took a turn and mocked him out.  WFAA also followed up, quoting a retired videographer in the OAG, saying it's all about Abbott's aggrandizement.

Nobody's using the words "second-degree felony" except me, so far.

"The Bushite arctic freeze is thawing nationally, but in Texas we're still iced in. Fight 'em on the ice." -- DVO

by: PDiddie @ Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:00:07 AM CST
[ Reply ]
Abbott rocked by scandals | 8 comments | Time to post comments expired.
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