The United States Department of the Treasury opened an investigation against Greg AbbottGovernor of Texas, for the alleged diversion of funds intended for COVID relief to the Operation Lone Star program.
A group of Texas Democrats in the US House of Representatives called for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to intervene in the case.
Texas Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and Veronica Escobar of El Paso promoted a letter to Yellen asking her department to investigate the matter.
“It is reckless and irresponsible for the Governor to direct additional funds to Operation Lone Star, especially if the funds in question were intended to help Texans. to rebuild after the pandemic”, the Democrats wrote.
An analysis done by the Washington Post about the case notes that “Texas leaders diverted public health and safety funds to your border operationswhile relying on federal pandemic funding to replace some of the money.”
Those border actions refer to Operation Lone Star, a state border security program that Abbott launched in March 2021 to help to stop drug and migrant trafficking.
The governor unfolded to more than 10 thousand members of the National Guard along with state Department of Public Safety troops to patrol the border, build walls, and arrest migrants on state criminal charges of trespassing for crossing into the US.
This week, a judge declared it legal to criminally prosecute migrants who crossed illegally through a private property; The judge did not require a complaint from the owner of the property to declare “trespassing of private property.”
In the actions mentioned, Texas has spent about 4 billion dollars; the Washington Post points out that approximately one billion dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, were used in this.
“In exercise of that responsibility … we are currently conducting a review of Texas’ uses of funds,” Richard K. Delmar, deputy inspector general for the US Department of the Treasury, said. post.
For its part, Abbott has not declared anything so far, but its spokeswoman, Renae Eze, said in a statement to The Texas Tribune that “instead of attacking Texas for responding to the border mess they have created and escalated in the last year, President Biden and Democrats in Congress should stop playing politics and do their jobs to secure our border.”