Sarah Weddington, who first made her mark in Washington arguing the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case before the Supreme Court, has resigned under fire as chief Washington lobbyist for the state of Texas.
Weddington, 40, stepped down from her $49,700-a-year job after Republican legislators and party leaders here accused her of "arrogant abuse" of her official duties by being away from her Washington office 183 days and collecting 134 additional days of compensatory time during her first two years on the job.
"Some state House members seem determined to attempt to use differences with me to undermine support for the agency," Weddington wrote in her letter of resignation to Gov. Mark White (D), who appointed her to head the state's 21-member Washington office shortly after he was elected in 1983.
White defended and praised Weddington after the resignation, saying she had done a "commendable job." She will remain on salary until he appoints a replacement.
Weddington, a Democratic activist who served as an aide to President Jimmy Carter, said partisan politics and her "pro-choice" stand on abortion "had a major impact" on Republican criticisms of her.
The flap began with a report two months ago in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Weddington had claimed 1,072 hours of compensatory time in her first two years in office, some of which she used for speaking engagements that earned her $2,000 to $4,000 each.
Frequently, according to state records and published reports, she would combine a speech with an "official" state trip, and claim state expenses for the trip. State Rep. Bill Ceverha, a Dallas Republican, claimed she had collected more than $45,000 in questionable state expenses.