A study recently published in a San Antonio newspaper showed Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed white males to key positions in his government at a higher rate than the state’s general population.
The study also showed donors to his campaign received key appointments over more qualified candidates for the same positions.
Additionally, researchers found, out of 889 potential appointment or promotions, Abbott placed Hispanics in less than 17 percent of the available positions, compared to the state’s overall Hispanic proportion of nearly 40 percent.
African-Americans reportedly made up seven percent of the appointees, representative of only half the proportion of the state’s entire categorical population, researchers found.
The study further showed nearly 30 percent of Abbott’s appointees also donated to his campaign, with contributions from these appointees totalling more than $130 million from June 2001 to October 2017.
Analysts said they found some donors who received key appointments dontated $1 million or more.
State Senator Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) told the newspaper in December Abbott’s office should put forth “a better effort…to have more balance:”
“The diversity of our state is what makes us strong. Adding more diversity to the gubernatorial appointees would make us stronger,” Menéndez said in the interview.
A bill in the Texas House of Representatives, authored by Rep. Kyle Larson (R-San Antonio) would require donors who give more than $2,500 to a gubernatorial campaign be barred from receiving appointments, passed the House last summer.
However, the so-called “pay for play” bill died in the Senate and never reached Abbott’s desk.
“Campaign contributions buy a lot of things,” Craig McDonald of Texans for Public Justice said in an interview. “Appointments, just by looking at the numbers, seem to be one of them. We think it’s a motivation for donors who want something out of government, who want to buy not just access to a politician, but a prestigious spot in Texas government.”