The Politics of Personal Destruction

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.


  1. Lorraine R. Owens says

    Those of us old enough to remember the signature tactics of the Communist/Totalitarian regimes of the Soviet Union snigger derisively under our breath, or say HA! out loud (in my case) every time we hear a Committee, or Policy, or Order which has been given a name like: “Committee on Transparency”! In 21st century vernacular, there must be attached to such names the word – NOT! – in bold all-caps. Leading the charge to continue the USSR’s noble tradition of persuading the masses, our Dear Leader, the President, had organizations with names like The Truth Team, which sent my son an email (Dec. 13, 2013) lauding the 1.2 million “signed up for coverage” since October [2013], and telling him to “share this message far and wide today”. What we really need to share far and wide, is the reality that the more frequently one repeats a lie – or anything else – the more likely it is to be accepted as common knowledge…the Truth….which is why the Soviet Union named its state newspaper PRAVDA….just so you’d know that anything in it can be trusted…no, for real….really! Now, young people, who have no way of substantiating what they’re told, are encouraged to repeat “it” to their young friends on social media….what Stalin & Kruschchev could have done with a carefully orchestrated Facebook, or Twitter….it boggles the mind. It would appear that we are about to see.

  2. Blake Hogue says

    Quoted from the above article:
    “I’m just glad he didn’t have the resources of the speaker of the Texas House.”

    I’m not understanding what all of this has to do with Joe Strauss. Please expand on that.

    • Tim Lambert says

      He appointed this special committee and its leadership to “investigate” the actions of Regent Hall.