Whistleblowers Fired From Paxton’s Office; Hegar Closes Cash-On-Hand Gap With Cornyn

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Alexandra HartOctober 23, 2020 1:15 pm, , ,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Big Spending In The Senate Race

In a tightening race between U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and his democratic challenger, MJ Hegar, candidates are going all in on campaign spending. Hegar raised almost three times as much money as Cornyn in the first two weeks of October, increasing her cash-on-hand advantage over the incumbent senator.

“Earlier this year, [Cornyn] was outpacing Hegar 16 to 1. But she entered the final full month before the election with $8.5 million in the bank, compared to $8 million for Cornyn. This is, of course, pretty remarkable. Cornyn emerged from the prior quarter with $14.5 million in the bank compared to just under $1 million for Hegar,” Samuels told Texas Standard.

Financial Relief For Families With Special Needs Students

This week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, along with the Texas Education Agency, announced that some families with special education students may qualify for up to $1,500 in aid. That money can be used for tutoring, therapy, and other resources to aid in distance learning while as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“One caveat here is that the aid can only be used to buy services and resources from TEA-approved vendors,” Samuels said. “So families will be able to make purchases with no upfront costs through an online portal that will launch later in the year, and have until Jan. 31, 2022 to use the funds.”

A ‘Not Voluntary’ Departure In The AG’s Office

Two aides for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were fired this week after accusing the state’s top lawyer of committing crimes while in office.

“Two whistleblowers … reported him to law enforcement for crimes including bribery and abuse of office. And those two employees were Blake Brickman and Lacy Mace, who were both fired on Tuesday,” Samuels said. “We have Lacy Mace, who’s on the record speaking to one of our reporters, saying that her departure was, ‘not voluntary.’

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