Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Democratic claim about Greg Abbott misses on misspending

Greg Abbott, stumping for governor in Midland on July 17, was targeted by a pro-Democratic group's blog claim (Associated Press photo).
Greg Abbott, stumping for governor in Midland on July 17, was targeted by a pro-Democratic group's blog claim (Associated Press photo).

A pro-Democratic group says Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican aspirant for governor, misspent $1 million-plus bothering elderly Texans.

The Lone Star Project said in a July 14, 2013, blog post, "Just a few years ago, Abbott converted over $1 million in federal grant money intended for use to prosecute online sexual predators and other cyber crimes and instead used it to harass and prosecute senior citizens who were assisting other senior citizens in applying for mail-in ballots."

Whether resources should have gone to investigating Texans who helped others submit mail-in ballots could prove campaign fodder.

But we found this particular claim lacking. Less than $100,000 of a federally funded grant—less than one-fifteenth of it--was spent investigating alleged violations of state election law. The grant aid also wasn't restricted, or necessarily intended for, other purposes. So there was no so-called conversion.

Senior citizens were pursued, but our sense is it’s an eye-of-the-beholder question whether the investigations were harassment.

We rated the blog statement as False. Read our full analysis--and other checks of the Lone Star Project--to the right.