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Lone Star Project Report

Abbott Cover-up Uncovered

Greg Abbott issued formal ruling that helped the Enterprise Fund conceal improper payments of nearly one-quarter billion dollars.

Background on the Abbott/Perry Texas Enterprise Fund Scandal

  • In 2013, Senator Wendy Davis passed legislation requiring that the TEF be audited.  That audit was recently completed.  The audit revealed that nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer grant money was given to businesses that never provided the proper documentation or, in many cases, did not even formally apply for the grants.
  • The TEF was proposed by Rick Perry and established in 2003 to direct taxpayer funds to businesses that apply and provide proper assurances that the money will benefit and help stimulate the Texas economy, ideally by creating jobs.
  • The TEF is run by Rick Perry appointees.  Grants are supposed to be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker.
  • Greg Abbott, as state attorney general, has oversight responsibilities and is supposed to assure that payments are made properly and that those who receive payments improperly are investigated, prosecuted and the funds recovered.
  • A state audit revealed that nearly a quarter of a billion dollars (over $222 million) in Texas taxpayer funds controlled by the Texas Enterprise Fund were transferred to businesses and corporations without proper review and, in most cases, without an application for the funds being submitted.

Over the last 72 hours the controversy regarding improper payments made by the Texas Enterprise Fund has become a full-blown scandal encompassing Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.

News reports now detail that Greg Abbott was engaged in a cover-up to prevent the discovery that nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer money kept within the Texas Enterprise Fund was funneled to businesses without proper review and, in most cases, without even a formal application being submitted.  Abbott himself has taken more than $1.4 million in campaign contributions from those who have received improper payments from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

To put the Abbott/Perry Texas Enterprise cover-up into perspective, it is a massive defrauding of Texas taxpayers.  This Abbott/Perry corporate welfare scam is no different than corrupt bureaucrats conspiring to give over $200 million in food stamps to people who never applied or proved they met the qualifications for taxpayer assistance.

The newspaper stories are clear enough, but to lay the scandal out simply, here’s what happened:

  1. As attorney general, Greg Abbott has a responsibility to assure that payments of taxpayer funds like those authorized by the Texas Enterprise Fund are made properly and in compliance with the law.
  2. Ignoring his oversight responsibilities, Greg Abbott has never inspected payments approved by the Texas Enterprise Fund, nor has he ever investigated or recovered Texas Enterprise Fund funds improperly obtained.
  3. The most recent newspaper accounts reveal that Abbott not only ignored Texas Enterprise Fund improper payments, he helped cover them up.  Abbott issued a formal ruling allowing the Texas Enterprise Fund to withhold from public scrutiny non-existent applications and other related documents submitted by businesses and corporations receiving taxpayer grants.  Abbott’s ruling allowed the Enterprise Fund and businesses to conceal the fact that applications and other related documents did not exist.
  4. In order to properly rule on whether or not a state agency can withhold documents, Abbott’s office should examine the documents requested.  In light of this, it is clear that Greg Abbott knew the applications and other documents that should have been submitted to the Texas Enterprise Fund did not exist.  Abbott’s ruling then prevented the media or the public from discovering this fact and thus the improper payments to remain concealed.

Bottom Line

Greg Abbott was a full and willing participant in covering up nearly a quarter billion dollars in improper payments of Texas taxpayer funds.  Abbott himself has received over $1.4 million in campaign contributions from those that received improper payments from the Texas Enterprise Fund.