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Political Expert Says New Abbott Campaign Policy Targets Davis' Law Career

Ryan Poppe/David Martin Davies
TPR News

 Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign has introduced a new campaign policy this week that political experts say takes a stab at Wendy Davis' past work as a bond attorney while she was a state lawmaker.   

A new ethics policy proposal introduced this week from the Abbott campaign recommends that lawmakers be prohibited from working as bond counsel for any public entity while serving in the Texas Legislature, that has drawn criticism from Wendy Davis’ campaign who says the new proposal directly targets her, because she works as a bond attorney for several public entities and quasi-governmental agencies and held these clients while serving in the Texas Senate.

Davis says,  “I have released all the public clients that I represent and from whom I derive income and I do that not because the law tells me to, but because I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Bond counsel works to help facilitate and manage a sale of public debt.  Political expert Professor Cal Jilson, who teaches at Southern Methodist University, agrees with Davis assessment of Abbott’s latest campaign platform and says this is an issue her opponents have tried to use for the last ten years of her political career, and it has never stuck.

“If the Abbott opposition-research team had found something really stunning they would have brought it out in a much different, much more aggressive way," Jilson explains. "What that means to me is that there’s nothing really damning there in relation to Davis herself, so they’re bringing out this bank-shot.”

Jilson says this type of challenge about Davis’ work history was one of the things political experts have been expecting out of the Abbott campaign, but he says since not much seems to be sticking, they have taken this alternate route of fitting the challenge into his campaign platform, hoping the proposal at least causes concern that Davis may have profited from her political office. 

He adds this type of recommendation still causes doubt and suspension in the minds of Texas voters.

Jilson says, “It is a point of vulnerability because the average citizen is suspicious of politicians, and so if you tell them that a politician is engaged in self-dealing and personal enrichment from their public responsibility, many voters will say 'I knew that all along.'” 

Abbott’s recommendation would make it a Class A Misdemeanor crime for any lawmaker caught working as a bond counselor during their time in the Texas Legislature.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.