ICYMI: Entire Houston Chronicle Editorial Board Slams Abbott Over Making $1 Million Off February’s Power Outages

AUSTIN, Texas — Over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle slammed Gov. Greg Abbott over the biggest scandal in current Texas politics, releasing a scathing op-ed from the entire editorial board entitled “We froze and Abbott got paid $1 million from the billionaire profiteer of Texas’ deadly storm.” The op-ed highlights Abbott’s acceptance of a million dollar check from energy tycoon Kelcy Warren, who made billions off of February’s power outages while Texans froze to death in their homes — as well as Abbott’s persistent refusal to fix the power grid and prevent a similar disaster from happening again.

For months, advocates and Democrats have been sounding the alarm about both Abbott’s refusal to fix the grid and keep Texans safe, and the political and financial motivations driving that refusal. The summer’s high electricity demand has already caused multiple outages, highlighting the grid’s fragility and the extreme likelihood of Texans being forced to face another disaster. While it was abundantly clear from the get-go that Abbott’s inaction allowed this disaster to happen, the massive donation brings new depth to Abbott’s complicity in the catastrophe, which took the lives of more than 700 people.

More from the Houston Chronicle:

“On June 23, Warren wrote out a check to Abbott’s reelection campaign in the amount of $1 million. That’s the biggest check Warren has ever given a Texas politician, according to campaign finance reports. And it’s four times the usual $250,000 gift that Abbott has gotten from his reliable Dallas benefactor nearly every year since he was elected governor in 2014….

“Following the regular session of the Legislature, Abbott signed into law a package of legislation that allegedly strengthened regulation of the state’s woefully compromised power grid. ‘Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas,’ the governor proclaimed at a bill-signing ceremony in early June.

“It was hard not to laugh in the face of the governor’s faux-earnest remarks, particularly when the grid nearly collapsed again shortly afterward under the weight of early-summer heat. Everything was not done to fix the grid. Cosseting the utility industry, including oil and gas, was a higher priority.”

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“More than 700 Texans died during the power outages in February, while millions more suffered in the dark and cold for days. Texans are still struggling with the costs of repairing damaged homes and cars, and are  paying extra on monthly power bills to make up for the pricing surge. Any leader with an ounce of decency would be fighting tooth and nail to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. But that’s not Greg Abbott. Instead, our failed, disgraced governor accepted a million dollar check from a donor who made more than $2 billion on the backs of consumers when electric prices surged during the storm. This is beyond shameful.

“Greg Abbott is the definition of a politician who is only in it for himself. He not only left us to die during the winter storm — he made money off it. Now, with COVID-19 on the rise in our communities, Abbott is once again abandoning us to disaster for his own personal gain, blocking local governments from keeping people safe in order to pander to his rightwing base. As long as Abbott is in power, he will continue to sell us out and fail our state, and Texans will continue to suffer. We won’t forget.”