Rep. Joaquin Castro Blasts Gov. Greg Abbott For "Pay To Play" Politics In Letter

click to enlarge Rep. Joaquin Castro called out Gov. Greg Abbott for "pay to play" politics in a letter yesterday.
Rep. Joaquin Castro called out Gov. Greg Abbott for "pay to play" politics in a letter yesterday.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, roasted Gov. Greg Abbott yesterday in a letter about an email exchange between the governor and a prolific donor.

Castro said he was “deeply concerned” about Abbott’s response to Richard Weekley, CEO of Texans for Lawsuit Reform. Weekley has donated over $720,000 to Abbott since 2001, according to The Texas Tribune.

Weekley asked Abbott on May 20 to “personally intervene” with Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, on a bill concerning insurance litigation. The governor’s office — it’s unclear whether Abbott himself wrote the email — responded a few hours later saying “We are working it. Spoke with the Speaker about it earlier today.”

That irked Castro, who viewed the exchange as an example of “pay to play” politics, with Abbott moving the concerns of well-heeled, powerful interests to the front of the legislative line. Here’s the main body of the letter Castro sent to Abbott:

The email exchange between you and a major Republican donor speaks to the shadiness and corruption that has characterized state government for several years, including the issuance of hundreds of millions in no bid contracts to cronies that occurred during your watch as attorney general. You exhibit an eagernesss to take official action to please a donor for the purposes of political retribution. for years, members of the Texas business community and others have spoke of state leaders’ tendencies toward “pay to play” and official retribution for supporting persons politically opposed or out favor with state officeholders. Your email confirms that reality.

It is disturbing that you appear willing to use your office to reward big donor friends and punish adversaries purely for politics. That is unethical and quite possibly illegal.

As governor you should use your office only in the best interest of Texas and not as a means of political payback.

Texans deserve much better.

The bill died in the House anyway. Abbott’s office has not responded to Castro’s letter.

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