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Naked Corruption: Abbott's Private Business Courts
Business over people and the dark side of Texas politics.
Since Greg Abbott declared he would run for governor in 2013, he’s raised the equivalent of $83,793 per day. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade. Big businesses and wealthy CEOs funnel their money to Abbott to keep low regulations and loose worker rules in Texas.
While dozens, possibly even hundreds of incidents prove the corruption the governor has engaged in, let’s just talk about the most recent high-profile one.
While Texans were freezing and dying during Winter Storm Uri, Abbott directed power prices to stay at the maximum possible rate. Abbott’s order led to billions in gas companies' profits and higher energy bills for Texans.
Abbott’s handpicked appointee to run the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was caught giving assurances that Abbott would protect the big business profits made during the winter storm price gouging. Then, during the 87th Legislative Session, Abbott also ensured that oil and gas companies were given a loophole to avoid spending money to weatherize their equipment.
As a result, billionaire donor Kelcy Warren, CEO of the natural gas company Energy Transfer Partners, gave Abbott a $1 million contribution—a payoff.
Time and time again, Greg Abbott has put his big donors over the needs of Texans.
What are “Abbott’s Private Business Courts?”
HB19 creates a “business court” in Texas that handles business disputes. The bill states that transactions with a value of at least $10 million are subject to the jurisdiction of the business court. There will be seven judges, who will be appointed every two years by Governor Greg Abbott.
That’s right. The man who has only shown our state naked corruption will appoint judges to make business judgments for his donors.
It’s absolutely absurd. To demonstrate how ridiculous it is, I used AI to make a visual representation of how this will go down.
First, billionaire CEOs give Greg Abbott millions of dollars:
Second, Abbott will appoint judges to the new business court (likely spreading more money around):
Then, those judges will decide on cases of Abbott donors:
There is no more straightforward way to put it. HB19 was sponsored or co-sponsored by every single Republican in the House. Yesterday, when it was read the second time on the House floor, every Republican voted for it.
Several Democrats pointed to the corruption and “appearance of impropriety,” but that didn’t matter. You can see the jaw-dropping debates here:
The bill will be read for the third time today and undoubtedly pass and move to the Senate. There is no question the Senate will also pass it and send it to the governor’s desk. Aside from the sheer level of corruption of this new business court, which the GOP is planning on using to enrich themself, there are questions about whether or not this is constitutional.
The Texas State Constitution states that the people must elect our judges. So, after this bill passes, we should expect to see a slew of lawsuits aiming to stop this corrupt court. We’ll have to wait and see what happens as those suits play out.
Texas doesn’t have contribution limits on our elections, so Greg Abbott isn’t the only one raking in big bucks from billionaire CEOs. A few House races even pulled in over $1 million in 2022. All elected Republicans benefit from the large amount of cash that’s floated around the state during election times.
The creation of Abbott's Private Business Courts is yet another example of our governor's corruption and self-serving actions. Despite proving his disregard for the well-being of Texans, Abbott continues to prioritize the interests of his wealthy donors and big businesses. This level of corruption is unacceptable. The people of Texas deserve better.