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Monday, December 11, 2023


Gubernatorial race heats up with alleged legal violations

The race for Texas governor intensified last week when Republican candidate Greg Abbott launched a complaint toward Wendy Davis for allegedly violating state election laws. Filed Thursday at the Texas Ethics Commission, Abbott’s campaign charged that Davis used campaign funds to promote her latest book, “Forgetting to be Afraid,” the profits of which go to Davis personally.

Texas Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis said she is committed to "making college more affordable and accessible to all."  |  Julie Nguyen/The Cougar

Wendy Davis spoke at UH on Sept. 2. | File photo/The Cougar

“These allegations are typical of the blood sport that politics has become,” said political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus. “Indeed, the Texas Ethics Commission has chastised campaigns to not use these types of complaints as political weapons.”

In December 2013, the Texas Ethics Commission issued a statement condemning the use of its office as a source of political attacks.

“Candidates have often during the course of their campaigns publicized their autobiographies; however, the question here is whether it was a mistake to use campaign contributions to fly to New York to engage in activities to promote her book, even though she did have a campaign event while in New York,” said political science professor Jennifer Clark. “If the Commission issues a ruling, it will serve as an important directive for future campaigns, since state election laws are often not so black and white.”

Executive Director Natalia Ashley of the Texas Ethics Commission would not comment on the complaint, but said all official complaints are investigated and that they “take their responsibility very seriously.”

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