Tom Pauken, GOP gubernatorial candidate, Wednesday commented on revelations in the Houston Chronicle Sunday about Attorney General Greg Abbott’s failure to attend board meetings of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute (CPRIT) in the three years preceding revelations of questionable grants to several of his big money campaign donors.
Pauken’s statement follows:
“The Attorney General’s failure to perform his role as fiduciary for Texas taxpayers and cancer victims, both now and in the future, is appalling.
“First, one can’t help but conclude that Abbott has been gaming the system from the beginning. There’s still no conclusive proof that he actually lobbied the legislature against inclusion of his office on the board. When coupled with his sending a proxy to just a few board meetings, Abbott can conveniently claim he was involved even while feigning ignorance of at least $23 million in CPRIT grants that were made to people and PACs which have contributed $4.6 million to his campaign.
“Second, by now asserting the right of his office to investigate possible wrongdoing at CPRIT, Abbott puts himself in the position of the fox guarding the henhouse.
“Given these considerations, it’s time for members of the Texas Legislature to assert their own investigative powers.
“It’s time for them – and a new governor not connected to the cronyism now occurring in Austin – to restore the public’s confidence in the functioning of an organization that the people of Texas empowered to spend $300 million each year to fight a terrible illness that affects so many of us and our families.
“It’s time to start cleaning up Austin and serving the people of Texas.
“As governor, I would require my administration to review the functioning of all state-empowered Boards in order to correct any malfunctioning of their roles as fiduciaries.”