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By W. Gardner Selby July 2, 2015

Abbott-sought campaign spending hurdle died without a vote

In his gubernatorial campaign, Greg Abbott suggested that if a candidate spends a sizable sudden contribution in the days before an election, the hopeful should be required to reveal that donation first.

"In the last few days before an election, candidates should not be allowed to expend any funds that have not already been disclosed to the public online," Abbott said.

Why the change? To allow voters to make more informed choices, he said.

Specifically, Abbott called for the law to bar candidates from spending contributions of over $5,000 made in the last 30 days before an election--until the donations are reported to the Texas Ethics Commission.

In the 2015 legislative session, however, no such mandate made it to Abbott for his consideration, the governor indicated in a document his office issued in June 2015, a few days after the session ended.

Separately to our inquiry, attorney Carol Birch of the Texas office of Public Citizen pointed out that a Fort Worth Republican, state Rep. Charlie Geren, introduced House Bill 1533, which would have carried out Abbott's promise. The measure won a hearing, legislative records show, before dying absent additional action.

We're marking this vow 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 1533, Texas Legislature, 2015 regular legislative session, Texas Legislative Council, (accessed June 29, 2015)

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