Abbott campaign blasts Texas governor candidate over public sector bond work

By David Yates | Mar 25, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - As Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott continues to face accusations on his stance for equal pay, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is attempting to turn the focus back on his Democratic rival and her law firm's work on public bonds.

On Monday, Texans for Greg Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch released a statement regarding state Sen. Wendy Davis' "questionable" ethics, pointing to the fact that Newby Davis PLLC profited from government bond work by serving as counsel on numerous public bond deals.

"Facing mounting questions about her dubious ethics, Sen. Davis admitted (Monday) that she continues to profit off Texas public debt by serving as legal counsel for multiple public bond offerings," Hirsch said.

"However, she continues to refuse to disclose to Texans how much she made from taxpayer-funded contracts while profiting off state debt, when she will stop working for her public clients as promised and when she will release her full client list. Texas voters deserve transparency."

As previously reported, two weeks ago Davis unleashed a flurry of tweets accusing Abbott of not caring about equal pay for equal work for Texans, bringing a wave of media attention to the matter.

One of the Democratic candidate's tweets linked a Dallas News article in which she cites a case where Abbott represented Prairie View A&M in an unequal pay suit. A female professor claimed she had the right to sue over unequal pay, even though she did not file the claim within 180 days of when the discrimination started as required by state law.

On Tuesday, Davis Tweeted: "When will (Abbott) finally break the silence on (equal pay?) The clock is ticking..."

This time around, the Abbott campaign is citing news articles featuring Davis' work on public bonds, pointing to a recent San Antonio Express News article stating that in February her firm worked on two deals that were brought to market: a $201.5 million bond issue for the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and a nearly $319 million bond sale for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

On March 13, Abbott announced a proposal that would prohibit legislators from serving as bond counsel and profiting at the taxpayer expense.

According to gregabbott.com, when legislators, through their private work, become intimately involved in the financial process of local entities, ethically problematic situations develop wherein legislators find themselves with a personal incentive to increase local debt.

From Legal Newsline: Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com.

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