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Gov. Greg Abbott addresses attendees at the Oath of Office Ceremony on the state Capitol grounds on Jan. 15, 2019.

$1.7M for George Strait, six-figure bonuses: Months later, a lawsuit forced Texas to release details on inaugural spending

For months, Gov. Greg Abbott and the 2019 Texas Inaugural Committee fought to avoid disclosing how they spent a record-setting $5.3 million. The Texas Tribune sued and obtained the documents in an out-of-court settlement.

By Shannon Najmabadi, The Texas Tribune, and Jay Root, Houston Chronicle
Air Force fighter planes fly over the state capitol during the Oath of Office Ceremony. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott were sworn into their respective offices on Jan. 15, 2019.
Sarah Whitley, Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign finance director, received a $200,000 bonus for fundraising for the 2019 Texas Inaugural. She also received $339,865 in commissions. This is the bonus check, dated February 7, 2019.
Sydney Wallace, a campaign staffer for Gov. Greg Abbott, received a $100,000 bonus in early 2019, in addition to $88,000 in commissions. This is the bonus check from the Texas Inaugural Committee.
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band practices before performing at the Oath of Office Ceremony at the state capitol on Jan. 15, 2019.

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Politics State government Ann Richards Campaign finance Dan Patrick Greg Abbott