The Brief: Abbott Defends Houston Votes Investigation, Supports PIU

GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott speaking at the RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas on August 9, 2014.
GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott speaking at the RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas on August 9, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott on Tuesday reaffirmed the watchdog role of the Public Integrity Unit while also defending his agency's investigation of a Houston voter registration group in 2010.

The voter fraud investigation of Houston Votes hobbled the group but led to no prosecutions. Talking to The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday after the unveiling of his new education policy proposal, Abbott defended the investigation.

The News' Gromer Jeffers Jr. wrote that Abbott "said Houston Votes officials were accused of 'inappropriately duplicating registration forms,' comparing its activities to ACORN, the nationally known community organization group that has been beset by allegations of voter registration fraud.

“'Houston Votes had to fire more than 10 people for either falsifying or inappropriately duplicating registration forms, so there was some wrongdoing that was akin to ACORN-type political operations that deserved looking into,' Abbott said."

Abbott also told The Associated Press that he backed keeping open the Public Integrity Unit, the funding for which was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.

 

The AP's Nomaan Merchant wrote that "the Republican candidate for governor said he believed it was important for state lawmakers to have 'a watchdog with prosecutorial authority.'

“'And I believe that when the sun sets on the next session, we will still have a Public Integrity Unit,' Abbott said in a brief interview."

Not in Abbott's statement? Any indication as to whether he supports moving the unit out of the Travis County DA's office.

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is on the campus of Texas A&M University for a 5 p.m. rally as part of her five-city kickoff to the fall campaign season.

•    Republican SD-28 candidate Jodey Arrington holds a GOTV rally in San Angelo at 5:30 p.m. On hand for the event is Karen Hughes, former advisor to President George W. Bush.

•    The House Human Services Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to monitor implementation of the Balancing Incentives Program, among other oversight tasks. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

A Tale of 2 Water Districts: 1 Aquifer, 2 Strategies, by Neena Satija

Testimony Begins in Trial Over Texas Voter ID Law, by Terri Langford

 

Abbott Lays Out Full Higher Ed Plan, by Reeve Hamilton

Davis, Abbott Still at Odds Over Dallas Debate, by Christine Ayala

Series: Bypassed by the Miracle

Elsewhere

Overlooked part of abortion ruling could let clinics reopen, Houston Chronicle

Halliburton reaches $1B Gulf oil spill settlement, The Associated Press

Senate candidates talk water, education, border and even marijuana at candidate forum, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

State legislator may introduce bill to split up Dallas ISD, The Dallas Morning News

Group files complaint against Whitmire over UH texts, Houston Chronicle

Prosecutors: Kaufman killings suspect had more targets, WFAA

In a long line of Bushes, a grandson honors his heroic grandfather, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UTMB rebounds 6 years after Ike's damage, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

“You have to realize, when you start contributing to all these guys, they give you access to meet them and talk about your issues.”

— New York-based GOP donor Andrew Sabin on his newfound popularity among top Republicans such as Texas' Ted Cruz. Giving away more than $177,000 does not hurt.

Today in TribTalk

Austin's "black problem" is a class problem, by Ellen Sweets

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With UT System Regent Wallace Hall, on Sept. 4 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri, on Sept. 10 at The Austin Club

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 19-21.

Students at the Fest: Check out the full #TTFstudents program at the Tribune Festival featuring exclusive events, a private lounge and more. Register for just $50, or volunteer and attend for free!

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, on Sept. 24 at the UTSA Downtown Campus in San Antonio.