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By W. Gardner Selby July 2, 2015

Lawmakers didn't act on call for quarterly campaign finance reports

Greg Abbott could have put it this way: Maximum disclosure, minimum delay.

We speak of his campaign promise to step up how often candidates for state office reveal campaign contributions and expenditures.

While bidding for governor, Abbott said existing Texas law, requiring such reports to be submitted once every six months and more often close to election days, leaves voters "poorly informed as to what parties are financing a campaign--a major indicator of the interests that a candidate is likely to take seriously if elected."

Abbott pointed out that candidates for federal office already must file finance reports monthly or on a quarterly basis. Texas too should require quarterly filings, he said in his campaign's compilation of Abbott's vows.

That did not happen in the 2015 regular legislative session, per a document issued after the session listing Abbott goals that did reach him in the form of legislative proposals.

Separately, we asked Carol Birch, a lawyer in the Texas office of Public Citizen, the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that calls itself the "countervailing force to corporate power," about this promise. She pointed us toward House Bill 1532, by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, which would have required quarterly report filings. Legislative records show the proposal cleared the House and a Senate panel in May 2015 before dying at the end of a session without the full Senate taking a vote.

We're marking this an Abbott PROMISE BROKEN.

Promise Broken – The promise has not been fulfilled. This could occur because of inaction by the executive or lack of support from the legislative branch or other group that was critical for the promise to be fulfilled. A Promise Broken rating does not necessarily mean that the executive failed to advocate for the policy.

Our Sources

Document, "Bicentennial Blueprint, Greg Abbott's Working Texans Plan," Oct. 28, 2013


Document, "Blueprint Bills," Gov. Greg Abbott, June 2015 (sent by email from Matt Hirsch, communications director, Gov. Abbott's office, to Jonathan Tilove, chief political writer, Austin American-Statesman, June 18, 2015)


Telephone interview, Carol Birch, legislative counsel, Texas office, Public Citizen, Austin, June 29, 2015


Legislation, House Bill 1532, Texas Legislature, 2015 regular legislative session, Texas Legislative Council (accessed June 29, 2015)

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