When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his emergency priorities for the legislative session on Monday, something was missing: taxpayer-funded lobbying. That omission prompted True Texas Project CEO Julie McCarty to share a 2013 recording of Abbott saying the practice “must stop.”

“Another practice at the Capitol that must end is using tax dollars to hire lobbyists to lobby for school districts or school boards,” Abbott told those gathered at the North East Tarrant Tea Party, the precursor to TTP, eight years ago. “Using your money to lobby for more of your money is a conflict of interest, and that practice must stop.”

“Way back in 2013 at one of our meetings, he laid out his plan for Texas in hopes that we would elect him governor,” McCarty wrote. “At that time, he said eliminating taxpayer-funded lobbyists was a top goal.”

“Maybe he thought we weren’t listening or that we would forget?” she asked. “We were, and we didn’t.”

A 2019 poll found 88 percent of Texans oppose taxpayer-funded lobbying, and banning it remains a top priority for the grassroots.

Other citizens echoed McCarty’s feelings.

“If he doesn’t do it this session, I won’t vote for him again,” Stephen Knauer posted. “Not even for dog catcher.”

“[The] funny thing about incumbents is that they have a pesky thing called a track record,” Juan Martinez commented.

“Is he really against lobbying?” asked Lynette Lucas. “I am against them being paid to lobby for more of our money. And [Drew] Darby—my [state representative] I ran against—is for it, yet our governor endorsed Darby.”

“Wish we had [Florida] Gov. [Ron] DeSantis,” wrote Diane Johnson.

The 87th Legislative Session runs through May 31. Citizens can keep track of bills filed in the legislature by visiting Texas Legislature Online.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.