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Abbott claims Davis’ book tour constitutes an illegal campaign contribution

I guess he has to do something to distract from what’s actually in Sen. Davis’ book.

Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis

Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott asked the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday to rule whether opponent Wendy Davis’ book deal and tour crosses the line on illegal corporate campaign contribution because it is tied to her ongoing campaign.

Davis’ campaign immediately labeled the filing a “frivolous stunt.”

In a three-page letter requesting an advisory opinion, Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton asked whether a book tour paid for and promoted by a corporation constitute in-kind political contributions. Under state law, corporate contributions to a campaign are illegal.


“Because of the proximity of the book’s publishing and the election, the candidate will be using political funds on voter contact at the same time the publisher is using corporate funds to promote the book,” reads the letter, insisting that political observers “seem to agree that the promotion of the book essentially equals promotion of the candidate’s candidacy.”

The letter also seeks an opinion on how royalties from a book should be reported. Davis earlier made public her tax returns from last year that show she received a $132,000 advance from the book, with $100,000 in expenses.

The release of the book comes just eight weeks before the November general election, where polls show Abbott still holds a lead.

Ethics Commission officials have said they do not comment on opinion requests. But Executive Director Natalia Luna Ashley said that unless the questions have been previously answered, or the law is clear on an issue, an answer could take several months.

“It depends on the complexity,” she said.

Davis’ campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said the campaign was “very careful to follow every legal guideline.

“This frivolous stunt by the Abbott campaign is the clearest sign yet how worried they are about the power of Wendy’s story,” he said.

This may be the first time in history that a Republican politician in Texas has been concerned about the effect of corporate money in an election. Perhaps Greg Abbott should ask Michael Quinn Sullivan or Tom DeLay what they think about this. I seriously doubt it will amount to anything, but if it does we won’t hear about it till after the election anyway.

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