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Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed John Scott – a Fort Worth lawyer who briefly represented former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 Pennsylvania election results – as the new Texas Secretary of State.
As Secretary of State, Scott would oversee the Texas election administration – a task complicated in recent years by unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud by Republicans at the highest levels of government, fueled by Trump. The former president has filed a flurry of lawsuits across the country and called for audits in Texas and elsewhere to examine the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s own attorney general Bill Barr has said he does not There was no evidence of widespread election fraud nationwide, and in Texas, an official in the Secretary of State’s office said the 2020 election was “simple and safe.”
On November 13, Scott signed as a lawyer in a lawsuit brought by Trump to try to block certification of the Pennsylvania election. A few days later, Scott filed a motion to step down as counsel for the plaintiffs. Scott’s motion also called for the removal of Bryan Hughes, a Texas state senator from Mineola who works for Scott’s law firm, as counsel from the case.
Scott will ultimately need to be confirmed by the Legislature, which is not expected to meet again until 2023. Until then, he will serve as Acting Secretary of State.
Abbott’s announcement of Scott’s appointment made no mention of Scott’s work for Trump – even though Abbott has come under increasing pressure from Trump supporters to call for an audit election.
“John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of electoral law and litigation experience make him the ideal choice for Texas Secretary of State,” Abbott said in a statement. “John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and of building the Texas brand on the international stage. I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership on the country’s largest and most in-depth election audit. “
Scott will also serve as the state liaison to Mexico, the state’s largest trading partner, and advise Abbott on border and trade matters.
Abbott’s last two appointments for the top election post, Ruth R. Hughs and David Whitley, have not been confirmed by the Senate. Hughs resigned in May.
Scott has 33 years of legal experience, arguing over 100 legal cases in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Working in the Attorney General’s office under Abbott, Scott was the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Litigation, overseeing more than 22,000 prosecutions for the state. He was then appointed COO of the State Health and Social Services Commission, where he was in charge of 56,000 employees and a biennial budget of $ 50 billion.
Scott has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Department of Information Resources. He has law firms in Fort Worth and Austin.
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