Lege Lines: Senate Still Hasn’t Confirmed Texas Secretary of State David Whitley
Architect of recent "voter fraud" fiasco shifts blame to DPS
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December, but he still needs confirmation from the Senate. At his hearing before the Senate Committee on Nominations last week, he was roasted for the "voter fraud" fiasco he unleashed on the state, with an error-ridden list of 95,000 registered voters the SoS said were potentially not U.S. citizens. Three civil rights lawsuits later, Whitley was asked by Nominations Vice Chair Sen. Kirk Watson if he was "willing to admit" to any mistakes in the voter list. Whitley, formerly an aide to Abbott, placed the blame on "trusting" data from the Department of Public Safety – which, he admitted, he did not review at all before blasting out his advisory to all 254 counties to investigate potential illegal voting – which spurred Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state GOP (in a fundraising appeal), and then President Trump to hit the panic button on social media. While Nominations Chair Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, had said the committee would take a vote on the nomination this week, she since has punted the decision into the future without explanation. On Monday, adding more fuel to the fire, Keith Ingram, SoS director of elections, told the House Elections Committee that Whitley's office "understood that there was a significant possibility that some of those folks had since become naturalized."