Skip to main content

The Brief: Sept. 12, 2014

Greg Abbott continued on Thursday his attack against his rival in the race for governor, not going after the substance of Wendy Davis' new memoir but rather the publicity tour that has accompanied it.

Lead image for this article

The Big Conversation

Greg Abbott continued on Thursday his attack against his rival in the race for governor, not going after the substance of Wendy Davis' new memoir but rather the publicity tour that has accompanied it.

The Abbott campaign filed an ethics complaint, per a report from the Tribune's Christine Ayala, alleging that spending campaign funds to travel to New York City where Davis promoted her book amounted to converting those political contributions for personal use. That would be a definite no-no if true. The Davis campaign responded by saying everything connected to the trip was carefully vetted. The campaign labeled the complaint as "frivolous."

The ethics complaint came days after the Abbott campaign asked the Ethics Commission for an opinion as to whether the publisher was making a corporate contribution to the Davis campaign by paying for the book tour, the Houston Chronicle's Mike Ward reported. Corporations cannot make direct contributions to candidates under Texas law.

The Abbott campaign's publicity surrounding its filing of an ethics complaint was not unexpected. Campaigns, special interest groups and other political combatants do this sort of thing all the time, even though the ethics complaint process is set up to be confidential. As Ward points out, the Ethics Commission is on record as being against the practice. Ward writes:

The complaint and subsequent press release about it would appear to run afoul of a December 2013 ethics commission resolution condemning political campaigns that publicized complaints they made against opponents. The resolution labeled such publicity "an unfair practice and should be judged accordingly by voters," noting that anyone can file a complaint, even if it is unjustified.

Trib Must-Reads

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst, by Neena Satija

UT System Seeks Partnerships, Space Research in Mexico, by Reeve Hamilton

Analysis: It's a Lot Easier to Rule With a Mandate, by Ross Ramsey

Workplace Deaths Decline, But Texas Still Fares Worst, by Jay Root


Polls make clear Davis still has ground to make up, Houston Chronicle

Appeals court weighs stay on ruling over Texas abortion law, Houston Chronicle

Ted Cruz booed, walks off stage, Politico

Texas Democrats ask for federal probe of AG raid that targeted voter sign-up group, The Dallas Morning News

Mexico condemns Perry for “political” border deployment of troops, The Dallas Morning News

Lawmakers absent from Texas voter ID trial, Austin American-Statesman

TxDOT seeks solution to battered roads in oil patches, San Antonio Express-News

Texas business, labor interests team to push for reforms, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note

“I may not run in 2016, but I’ve spent the last 20-plus months preparing. If I don’t run, it won’t be because I’m not prepared.”

— Gov. Rick Perry, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, on his approach to a potential run for the White House in 2016

Today in TribTalk

Detaining immigrant families is shameful, by Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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.

•    A Conversation on Demographic Change and the Digital Divide with Mark Strama, former state representative and head of Google Fiber in Austin; state Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock; Juanita Budd, executive director of Austin Free-Net; and Don Shirley, executive director of Connected Texas, on Sept. 30 at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin.

•    A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Yes, I'll donate today

Explore related story topics

Energy Environment Politics David Dewhurst Greg Abbott Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis