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Politics Texas Border Wall Donor Info Largely Anonymous Despite Abbott's Promise for Transparency

00:20  24 july  2021
00:20  24 july  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Despite promises from Abbott that transparency in the crowdfunding process for the border wall would be paramount, donor information released to The Texas Tribune for the first week of collections was bereft of any way to verify the identities of the majority of the donors . Abbott ’ s office is not disclosing the locations of donors , nor is it requiring that they identify themselves with their real names. “We expect full transparency and accountability,” Abbott said in June when announcing the crowdfunding effort. “So the public will know all the money coming in and how that money is being

“Since Governor Abbott announced the border wall construction strategy last month, the Department of Public Safety has been working with local landowners who consent to temporary fencing constructed on their land by Texas Military Department engineers.” As for the project in Eagle Pass, the spokesperson elaborated: “the Texas Department of Transportation has begun clearing vegetation and constructing a concrete barrier on state land after a competitive bidding process.” The Border Patrol on Wednesday apprehended more than 100 mostly Venezuelan nationals in less than one hour near the

Although Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, promised "full transparency" for his border wall crowdfunding campaign, the identities and locations of donors remain largely anonymous.

Greg Abbott holding a microphone: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks alongside former President Donald Trump during a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30 in Pharr, Texas. © Brandon Bell/Getty Images Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks alongside former President Donald Trump during a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30 in Pharr, Texas.

Abbott launched the crowdfunding campaign for the proposed border wall in mid-June, after the governor and other lawmakers raised concerns about a large surge in undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers coming to the Southern border with Mexico after President Joe Biden took office in January. Although the GOP governor promised "transparency," The Texas Tribune reported on Friday that most donors' identities are not being disclosed.

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The Austin-based news organization reported that many users were simply using initials, fake names or even unique messages to identify themselves. One person contributed $1 under the name "StopWasting TaxpayerMoney." Another contributor identified themself as "King of the Wild Frontier," while someone else said their name was "Donnie Darko"—an apparent reference to the character, played by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, in the 2001 film of the same name.

"We expect full transparency and accountability," Abbott vowed in June when he initially announced the crowdfunding campaign. "So the public will know all the money coming in and how that money is being used."

Ethics experts have expressed alarm about the apparent lack of transparency. Some raised concerns that the crowdfunding effort could be used as a "pay-to-play" scheme, in which donors anonymously contribute large amounts to a key priority of the governor while receiving favors or kickbacks.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he’ll arrest Democrats who fled to DC to block a controversial election bill. Meanwhile, the Texas House of Representatives voted to round up the decamping Dems by force, if necessary. As the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives geared up to vote on a controversial election security bill on Monday, more than 50 Democratic lawmakers piled aboard private jets and skipped town for Washington DC. Although the Texas House is split 83-67 Republican, the absence of the Democrats meant a quorum was not reached, and business could not be conducted.

"You don't want to have this big slush fund of money that is going to this pet project of the state executive that has zero accountability to anybody, with money coming in from who knows what and God knows who," Beth Rotman, national director of money in politics and ethics at Common Cause, told the Tribune.

Renae Eze, a spokesperson for the governor, argued that the donors' identities were not publicly disclosed for their protection and that Abbott had followed a typical process when receiving contributions to the campaign.

"Due to the sensitive nature of the personal information for the credit card transactions, and the very real fear of retaliation for donating to the border security mission, billing information is only being kept by the state agency responsible for processing the credit card financial transactions," Eze told the Tribune.

Newsweek reached out to Eze for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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  A day on the border: Border Patrol agents in Texas detain thousands of migrants each day as illegal crossings hit record highs Border Patrol agents in Texas encounter every day an average of more than 2,100 migrants crossing the border. People are hiding in homes, bushes.Voices crackled in hushed whispers over his radio, as more agents searched from the other side of the brush. Signaled by another agent over the radio, Moreno jumped from his white-and-green Border Patrol SUV and into the swampy marsh. He arrived just in time to see the agent cuffing a migrant. Two more crouched nearby in the murky, knee-high water, wet, filthy and swarmed by clouds of mosquitos.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tells 'Fox & Friends' that government should not 'micromanage the lives of everybody.' BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanon' s foreign minister asked the president to be relieved of his duties on Wednesday, the presidency said, after his comments in a television interview strained ties with traditional Gulf Arab allies and donors . Charbel Wehbe, who is a minister in the caretaker government, suggested on Monday that Gulf states had supported the rise of Islamic State, among other disparaging comments.

The border wall , which Trump repeatedly cited over the last four years as an accomplishment, cost US taxpayers -- not Mexico, as Trump repeatedly and falsely promised -- billions and became emblematic of the former President' s restrictionist immigration policies. The "remain in Mexico" program has forced thousands of people to wait in makeshift camps at the border , often in deplorable conditions. While the latest announcement marks a significant change, migrants apprehended at the southern border have largely been turned away under a public health order related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns about transparency also stem from a previous We Build the Wall campaign launched by Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser to former President Donald Trump. That crowdfunding effort raised some $25 million, but Bannon and several associates were later arrested by the Justice Department and prosecutors alleged that they had misused millions of the contributions for personal expenses. That campaign had promised that 100 percent would go to build Trump's long-promised border wall. Trump later pardoned Bannon right before he left office in January.

A Quinnipiac poll from June found that Texas voters are more or less split over their support for funding the border wall. While 50 percent said they supported the wall's construction, 46 percent said they opposed it. Among Texas Republicans, however, 89 percent support the project.

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The DOJ sued Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott to block a state order aimed at restricting the travel of undocumented migrants who could potentially transmit Covid.The complaint states that Abbott's executive order, issued Wednesday, interferes with the federal government's ability to lawfully release and transport migrants, adding it violates intergovernmental immunity.

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