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Wendy Davis Implicates Greg Abbott in CPRIT Scandal That Benefitted His Donors

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

In front of an enthusiastic crowd in East Austin Senator Wendy Davis implicated her Gubernatorial opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott in a scandal involving funds meant for cancer research that went to his campaign donors to a tune of $42 million.

As AG, Abbott was supposed to serve on the oversight committee but failed to attend any meetings and only began his own investigation of the misappropriated funds after some scientists had already resigned in protest.

An investigation by the Public Integrity Unit last year led to an indictment of one former executive who was involved in the awarding of an $11 million grant without the required vetting process.

Earlier that year Gov. Perry vetoed the funding for the PIU which investigators said did affect their ability to operate, but thanks to Travis County picking up some of the tab, they were able to complete a thorough investigation.

Hear more from Wendy Davis on Abbott and CPRIT, and see the video produced by Progress Texas of cancer survivors who were disappointed in how the funds for research were misused below the jump...

In July of 2013 the Houston Chronicle reported that, "in the more than four years he served on the state cancer agency's governing board, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott exercised no oversight as the agency made misstep after misstep in awarding tens of millions of dollars to commercial interests."

Davis seized on the continuing outcry making the case for new leadership. Referring to Texas' current Republican dominated political landscape she said: "They've protected overcrowded schools, ignored issues of unequal pay, and have looted tens of millions of your tax dollars from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, a place that was supposed to be a beacon of hope for cancer patients and their families."

She then described her efforts to bring more transparency to CPRIT:

"I authored in the last session Senate bill 386 to hold grant recipients accountable to their grant agreements, to make the institute comply with grant review processes and to remove Atty General Greg Abbott from the oversight committee. Then I was very proud to help pass senate bill 895 which finally held the institute accountable to Texas transparency laws, because what happened to the institute should not have happened, period."

Pat Pangburn, a homemaker and cancer survivor featured in the Progress Texas PAC video expressed her disgust in the revelations, "He is the policeman for the state of Texas and it was his job to make sure nothing like this ever happened -- and it did, on his watch."

Another cancer survivor, Becky Arreaga, concluded the video by saying, "vote, that's the thing thats going to make the difference."

It appears that Wendy Davis agrees and on Tuesday said,

"When Greg Abbott served on the oversight board of our state's cancer research institute, he wasn't looking out for cancer patients - he was looking out for his political donors. Greg Abbott should know if he has degraded the job he has he shouldn't be looking for a promotion, and the people of Texas know that too."

Watch the Progress Texas video here:

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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