Abbott Inaugural Spending Included $1.7 Million To Hire Musician George Strait

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Alexandra Hart & Caroline CovingtonDecember 18, 2020 2:56 pm, , ,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Patrick Svitek, political correspondent for The Texas Tribune.

Some Republicans refuse to acknowledge Biden’s win

Since the electoral college vote, some, like Texas Sen. John Cornyn, have acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Others, like Sen. Ted Cruz, have not. Svitek says there’s political strategy in that decision.

[He’s] made no secret he’s interested in running for president again, potentially in 2024,” Svitek said. “I’m sure he believes that to stay in the good graces of [Donald] Trump’s loyalists ahead of that next presidential race, he needs to continue to be seen as fighting and not acknowledging this outcome.”

Abbott’s 2019 inauguration spending

The Texas Tribune and Houston Chronicle spent years trying to get financial records from Gov. Greg Abbott’s second inauguration, and finally succeeded. The reporting shows the inaugural committee spent $5.3 million on the event – a record. $1.7 million of that went to hire the country musician George Strait to perform. Also, top Abbott aides received a total of about $1 million, paid out in six-figure bonuses, in some cases. And about $800,000 went to charities. Following the money in this case is important because such spending an avenue for corporations to make what are essentially political donations, which they are normally barred from doing.

“It’s really, I think, important to understand the influence that can be had over these inaugural committees. And then, of course, you want to know exactly how that money is being spent in turn,” Svitek said.

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