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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Hires Former Elections Chief David Whitley As Special Adviser

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Texas' former Secretary of State who resigned ahead of being forced out of office this week over wrongly questioning the U.S. citizenship of scores of voters is returning to a job under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, his office told a newspaper Friday.

The Dallas Morning News reported that David Whitley's new job as a special adviser will pay him a salary of $205,000.

Whitley served less than six months as Texas Secretary of State. He stepped down Monday as it became clear that Democrats in the Texas Legislature would deny him the confirmation vote needed to continue serving.

Whitley is a longtime Abbott aide who had previously been his deputy chief of staff before the governor picked him in December to become the state's chief election officer.

Former Texas Secretary of State David Whitley
Former Texas Secretary of State David Whitley

"David Whitley has been an exemplary public servant to the state of Texas for many years and the Governor is proud to welcome him back to our organization as a Special Adviser," the Governor's Senior Communications Adviser and Press Secretary John Wittman told CBS 11 in a statement.

Whitley was in charge when the state wrongly questioned the U.S. citizenship of scores of voters without properly vetting a list of nearly 100,000 names. His office claimed that 58,000 of the voters flagged were shown to have voted in at least one election since 1996, prompting President Donald Trump to renew unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud.

In April, Texas settled a federal lawsuit over the botched search that required the state to pay $450,00 in fees to civil rights groups.

News of Whitley getting a job back in Abbott's office drew swift criticism from opponents.

"In the Abbott Administration, being incompetent and malicious gets you a cushy new gig with a fancy job title. In the rest of the world, it gets you fired," said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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