On the eve of the semi-annual campaign finance reporting deadline, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott’s office confirmed he returned a $10,000 campaign contribution from the CEO of the beleaguered company at the center of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission contracting woes, 21st Century Technologies.
Amelia Chassé, Abbott’s press secretary, said late Wednesday that the return will be noted in the semi-annual campaign report due from political candidates on Thursday. She had no further comment.
The donation came to light on the same day the incoming Texas governor announced he was appointing an outside group to look into HHSC’s contracting procedures.
Abbott is the latest politician to confirm receiving a donation from Irene Williams, 21CT’s CEO, after the Nov. 4 election.
Earlier this month it was reported that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus received and quickly returned a $10,000 contribution from Williams in early December. Republican state Rep. John Zerwas and Republican state Sen. Craig Estes also returned donations to Williams. The donations were made in December, right before HHSC was to consider a $90 million extension to 21CT’s $20 million contract with HHSC for Medicaid fraud software.
But news reports about how 21CT’s former lobbyist was a onetime business associate of HHSC chief counsel Jack Stick prompted a cancellation of the extension. There are now three separate investigations into HHSC contracting procedures. Stick resigned in mid-December, and Gov. Rick Perry fired Doug Wilson, the HHSC inspector general.