The campaign manager for GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott filed an ethics complaint on Thursday alleging that the book tour of Abbott's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, represents a conversion of political contributions into personal use.
Wayne Hamilton’s complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission claims that Davis converted political contributions to personal use — a violation of the state's election code — during a trip to New York City this week where she both promoted her book and made a campaign stop.
The campaign filed a request for a formal opinion on the matter from the Texas Ethics Commission earlier this week; a response could take several months.
Davis' campaign says she used campaign funds to pay for the airfare to and from New York City, while Davis’ book publisher paid for lodging on Sept. 9. A campaign event was held on Sept. 10.
“We were very careful to follow all legal guidelines,” campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said. “One way you can tell this is a politically motivated and frivolous complaint is that the Abbott campaign filed it today without waiting for the legal opinion they requested on Monday."
Abbott's campaign claims that there was no campaign reason for Davis' trip to New York City, where she promoted her recently released memoir, "Forgetting to be Afraid," and held a campaign event the following day.
“There was no campaign purpose for travel to New York City on September 9, as the only activity conducted in the city on that day was interviews to promote the book,” Hamilton wrote.
Ian Steusloff, the Ethics Commission's assistant general counsel, said the commission will have to agree it has jurisdiction before proceeding with both the advisory opinion request and the complaint. That process could take five days for the complaint and 60 days for the opinion request.