Saturday, September 27, 2014

Texas, our Texas

-- Christy Hoppe broke the story a few days ago of Governor Perry's most recent (to come to light) financial misdealing.

The first independent audit of the Texas Enterprise Fund shows that the governor’s job-creating fund awarded $222 million — almost half the money granted — to entities that never submitted applications or specific promises to create jobs.

The 98-page report by the state auditor, released to lawmakers Thursday, paints a picture of a $500 million fund that, at least in its early years, gave away taxpayer money without a set evaluation process or a consistent criteria.

Early grants were awarded to companies or universities without their submitting formal applications, and some large projects were never required to create a single job — although that is the legislative mandate by which the fund was started.

Numerous contracts showed inconsistent requirements, weak compliance monitoring and led the auditor to state that it cannot verify many of the jobs or investments that were credited to the program.

Of course this also implicates Greg Abbott, whose job was oversight.  He failed.

As has typically been the case with respect to Republican scandals during this election cycle, Texas media that didn't break the story seem a little slow to push the story, and Texans reading and watching the media would rather read and watch something about a 'latte salute'.   Or 'Muslim prayer rugs at the border'.

Update, TexTrib:

While critics were hounding Gov. Rick Perry a decade ago about his job-luring Texas Enterprise Fund, his lawyers went to Attorney General Greg Abbott to block the release of applications that supposedly had been filled out by the entities requesting taxpayer subsidies.

Abbott’s office, tasked with deciding which government records have to be made public, told Perry's lawyers they must keep the applications secret under exemptions to state transparency laws, according to attorney general rulings and news reports.

Now, though, information contained in a blistering state audit shows that at least five of the recipients that were named in Abbott’s 2004 rulings — and which got tens of millions of dollars from the fund — never actually submitted formal applications. And if no applications ever existed, it’s not clear what Abbott was telling Perry he had to keep secret or why the public is just now learning that millions were awarded without them.

-- The criminal investigation into the Republican nominee for Texas attorney general won't begin until after the election.

The Travis County District Attorney has confirmed that any investigation into the criminal felony complaint filed against Republican candidate for attorney general Ken Paxton would take place after the November 4th General Election. It's a clear signal to voters that electing Paxton would subject the Texas AG's office to immediate post-election uncertainty, disruption and dysfunction.


According to the Houston Chronicle article, “if the district attorney launches criminal proceedings after November, it would mean Paxton could be facing a grand jury in his first few months as a statewide elected official.”

Paxton has already admitted to committing a felony violation of state securities law. In addition to the criminal investigation, Paxton also faces a complaint before the State Bar that could result in his disbarment.

Paxton’s strategy for avoiding publicity and scrutiny of his criminal behavior has been to avoid public events and refuse to speak with media. At an appearance earlier this summer, Paxton’s campaign aide physically blocked a reporter from getting close enough to ask a question.

Paxton is being shunned by other Republican nominees who, like Greg Abbott, rarely mention him by name.

Some Texans -- some who would typically be alarmed by news like this, that is -- just shrug.  It seems to this Texan that in any other campaign season in almost any other state, this development would be enough for sensible people to go to the polls and clean house.  It happened in Texas, once upon a time.  Yet the odds are good that despite the overpowering stench of corruption, the majority of the Texas electorate will goose-step with linked arms to the polling places and re-elect these vermin.

And to be clear: they are most certainly vermin.  Poisonous, disease-riddled rodents that have crawled out of the sewer and into public office on the strength of an (R) behind their name.  All of that "DemocRATS" business is just projection.  Despite the vile smell of it all, there's no bleach strong enough to get rid of them.

Because this is still Texas.  With respect to what Texans might do about it...

-- The Dallas-Fort Worth area has the greatest number of unregistered and eligible-to-vote Texans.  Houston isn't far behind, and San Antonio and Austin are right behind.  The total of those four metros: well over one million potential votes.  A conservative estimate of the Democratic votes among them would be two out of three, or 67%.

This is why Texas isn't changing, and won't until these Texans change their habit.

-- On a brighter note...

The number of uninsured patients treated at hospitals dropped sharply this year, top White House officials said Wednesday  – cutting costs dramatically for states that opted to expand Medicaid.

Texas isn’t one of those states.

Oh well, it's at least nice to know that some folks -- those who did not have insurance before, those taxpayers who were paying for their care before -- are benefiting.

In states other than Texas, that is.


Gadfly said...

Yes, this is what Lone Star Project was bitching about yesterday, the latest Perry corruption and its connection to Abbott.

And I responded that "you're the folks who told Wendy Davis to button up when the Perry indictment hit the fan." I included a link to my "how she should have responded to Abbott in the debate" blog post.

Buttoned-up, mismanaged, and pandering to the right is a hell of a way to run a campaign when you're behind.

PDiddie said...

I agree, as usual.

Angle and LSP do a good job of oppo research and putting the bad GOP news out there, but the state media -- outside Dallas, that is, as my linkage again demonstrates -- simply isn't paying attention.

And Angle and his crew have had two shots at governor now, with their Blue Dog candidate at the top of the ticket. They need to let some progressives have a go at it in 2018. (Fat chance that, with the Castros rising.)

Gadfly said...

Right indeed. With both Castro brothers in DC now (interesting, a Google search under "Castro brothers" brings them up before Raul and Fidel) and, as we've discussed, black state senators totally averse to higher offices, who?

Oh, I'm working on my "endorsements" list that will be half serious, but half very snarky.