New revelations in Texas technology fund scandal

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More details have emerged in the ongoing scandal about the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF), providing further evidence of the pitfalls of letting business interests oversee the awarding of subsidies. New revelations indicate that six former members of the fund’s board had close ties to eleven companies that received $27 million in subsidies.

ETF is a multi-million dollar slush fund controlled by a 17-member board appointed by the Governor and consisting mostly of corporate executives. A series of investigative reports by the Dallas Morning News had previously revealed that eight companies received $16 million from ETF after their investors or officers made significant campaign contributions to Governor Rick Perry. Other investigations revealed that at least one member of the ETF board made personal investments in companies it had approved for subsidies. The Dallas Morning News has now established that at least six members of the board had been working for or investing in companies that eventually got subsidies.

Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund stands out as a prime example of what can go wrong when so-called public-private partnerships are used to manage economic development functions.

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