Greg Abbott is again under fire for his involvement – or lack thereof – in the CPRIT scandal. Just this week, Wendy Davis accused Abbott of using CPRIT to funnel money to his donors.
Abbott's bid for Governor is largely based on his record as a public servant and his ability to oversee the affairs of the state. In light of this, CPRIT looms large as the most obvious evidence against him.
More on Abbott's unwillingness to oversee CPRIT and prevent scandal below the jump.CPRIT was not without mechanisms for oversight. As the Austin Chronicle reports, CPRIT was created with an oversight committee in place – including the Attorney General.
The piece points out that Abbott had 23 opportunities to attend committee meetings, but he never went to a single one. Though Abbott's camp claims that he decided not to be physically present at the oversight meetings due to “conflicts of interest,” those he charged with observing CPRIT in his place did not have stellar attendance records, either.
Not only was Abbott removed from the oversight committee's actions, he was barely interested in problems at CPRIT. In the five years that Abbott spent on the committee as Attorney General, he sent nine emails regarding problems in the organization.
Not only should this cast doubt on his abilities to govern the state – a job that involves a good amount of oversight – but it also gives many Texans reason to feel personally wronged by Abbott himself.
Glen Smith, Director of the Progress Texas PAC, recognized that the CPRIT scandal is about more than just the 2014 election cycle. People struggling with cancer in their lives were directly impacted by CPRIT's failure to deliver on its promise of innovative research to fight the disease. Smith set out to create a video where survivors would have the opportunity to speak out about their frustration, and viewers could see the human impact of CPRIT's scandal and Abbott's failings.
As Dallas News reported, this video became more personal for Smith when he was diagnosed with cancer during its production.
In failing to oversee CPRIT while one of the largest scandals for the state was brewing, Abbott did not only prove that he is incapable of overseeing the state. He also let down the people of Texas, who were counting on CPRIT to bring innovative research, treatment, and cures to those fighting cancer in the Lone Star State.