FACT CHECK: Greg Abbott’s Attack Against Wendy Davis’ Record Is Completely False

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During last night’s debate, Greg Abbott attempted to deflect negative attention from his (lack of) oversight over the Texas Enterprise Fund by accusing Wendy Davis of profiting personally through her work to support the local economy on the Fort Worth City Council. While Texans wait for a real response from Abbott as to his actions regarding the fund, we already know the truth about Wendy Davis: and none of it came out of Abbott’s mouth last night at the debate.

Abbott accused Davis of profiting from a specific economic incentive agreement reached during her time as a Councilmember. While serving on the Council in 2004, Davis was a part of the effort to bring Cabela’s to Fort Worth as a part of a push for economic development in the area. The resulting Master Economic Development Agreement Plan with Cabela’s was praised by Rick Perry as “not only good news for the hunting, fishing and racing crowd, it’s great news for the Fort Worth economy.”

While on the City Council, Davis was employed by Republic Title. It is true that Republic Title aided in the sale of the space to Cabela’s when the company came to Fort Worth. However, what is absolutely false is the suggestion that Davis profited personally from the transaction. Her contract with the company explicitly stated that her payment would consist solely of a “base salary” – which would not be impacted by sales – and benefits. Further, the City Attorney of Fort Worth determined that Davis’ work at Republic Title and her work on economic incentives did not represent a conflict of interest. From the letter, released by the Davis campaign:

    It again should be noted that your employment contract has been structured so as to make it a straight salary arrangement, and not based on commissions or level of sales, so that a vote on a zoning or other regulatory matter does not affect the amount of your compensation.

Abbott’s accusation was a desperate attempt to distract voters from the real ethics dilemma in last night’s debate – his office’s involvement in the mismanagement of millions of state dollars, and public access to information regarding this breach of trust.

Davis’ work with the Fort Worth City Council brought millions of dollars to the city’s economy and almost 400 jobs to the community. The economic incentive plan even included accountability – if the company failed to meet specific expectations such as jobs created and investment in the community, the company would face penalties.

Abbott didn’t just fail to notice the problems with the Texas Enterprise Fund, his office has actively protected the damning evidence of mismanagement. The funds in question are almost quadruple the economic impact of Cabela’s in Fort Worth: $172 million were handed out to companies that never filed applications, a fact Abbott’s office is actively trying to keep from public knowledge.

When questions first arose about the Fund in 2004, Abbott’s office advised the Governor not to release information about the applications, saying that they fell under “exemptions to state transparency laws,” according to the Texas Tribune. Perry’s then-Chief of Staff told the Dallas Morning News that their office wasn’t opposed to releasing the records, but it was Abbott’s ruling that kept them from making those applications (or, it turns out, the lack thereof) public.

It comes as no surprise that Abbott has been desperately trying to stick Davis with an ethics issue, because for him, the hits just keep on coming. From the storage of dangerous fertilizer chemicals to the mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, Abbott’s track record doesn’t look good. And Davis won’t let him – or Texas voters – forget it.


About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.


  1. Michael Milliken on

    Mr. Abbott also stated several times that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is a failure. Everything I have seen is that it is a success. Maybe he should NOT get his information from Fox News.

    • Kewan Woodard on

      He and Rick Perry both knew full well that the ACA healthcare law was working but both of them were too damn stupid refusing to expanded by making a false claim that is was failure knowing that it wasn’t .

    • You consider a cost of well over one million dollars per insurance policy to taxpayers a success?!? You must be some special kind of stupid.

  2. Abbott really doesn’t need to attack her. All they need to do is keep calling her “Abortion Barbie” and they will win. Apparently that negates anything bad that he could ever do.

  3. Wendy Davis’ husband owned that title company. When she divorced multimillionaire Jeff Davis she claimed she helped him start that title company. She lied. But she still got half of it. This is the same Jeff Davis who paid her way through grad and law school while raising her two daughters all by himself..one wasn’t even his.

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