Some years ago our staff received harassing phone calls from the father of a home schooling parent whom we were defending legally. I finally took his call, and he proceeded to tell me to remove his grandchild from our “database.” When I declined he said to me, “I’m going to destroy you!” He made a false allegation against our organization to the Texas attorney general’s office and to the local chamber of commerce. I’m just glad he didn’t have the resources of the speaker of the Texas House.
Yesterday The Wall Street Journal ran a story on what it called “political revenge” by the Texas House Select Committee on Transparency. (What a misnomer.) This special committee has been investigating University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, a Dallas businessman appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.
It seems Mr. Hall has taken seriously his responsibility to oversee the actions of the faculty and staff of the University of Texas, because he began to look into hundreds of thousands of dollars of forgivable loans to faculty members. The House Committee has heard from UT officials that Hall “abused” his authority by asking for “800,000 pages of documents and [making] 1200 requests for information.” The WSJ stated, “Those numbers have been debunked. In a letter to the committee in February, UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa confirmed that Mr. Hall had made only five public information requests that totaled around 3,000 pages. His other information came from seeing documents that others had already requested.”
Attorneys for Mr. Hall said the committee “is not serious about its mission, and instead is engaged in a campaign to influence public impressions of Regent Hall for political purposes.” That would seem to be supported by the fact that the committee has turned over its findings to the Travis County district attorney’s office for consideration of prosecution. This office has been used for years to file cases against political enemies like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a case that was dismissed after the election in which she was opposed. Congressman Tom Delay was also a target of this office and was convicted, only to have the case overturned at the appellate level after almost a decade of legal action and a ruined political career.
On Monday, May 12, the “Transparency Committee” voted 7-1 that there were “grounds to impeach” Mr. Hall. His attorneys say the committee is withholding information that would exonerate Mr. Hall. State Rep. Charles Perry, the single member of the committee who voted “no,” said publicly that all information from all parties was not presented and that he, therefore, voted against the action.
Today Rep. Dan Flynn and Rep. Carol Alvarado, co-chairpersons of the committee, are both saying the UT regents should take action to resolve this issue. That sounds like they don’t want to be required to defend their actions in front of the Texas House or in a Texas court. They just want to practice the politics of personal destruction, and the left-leaning media in Texas apparently wants to help them or is too lazy to report the facts.