The first order of business, after the special session ends and the long interim begins, is for the Legislature to do something it doesn’t do very often: exercise oversight. Oh, it calls in state agencies for budget hearings, but what it doesn’t do is address problems unless they are obvious. During the heyday of the Trans-Texas Corridor, they were obvious.
The obvious problem right now is the Comptroller’s office. The Legislature should conduct a formal investigation into Susan Combs’ operation of the office, the state of its technology (which I am told is not very good, though I would be the last one to be able to tell), and the complete story of how the data breach occurred and the personal information of some 3.5 million Texans was erroneously released. Two class-action suits have been filed. Was this incompetence on a grand scale, or simply misfortune? I can’t believe it has been allowed to go unaddressed this long.
Combs seems intent on running for lieutenant governor in 2014. Is she still a viable candidate? You would think that the data breach is so huge and affects so many Texans that her political career ought to be in tatters. Three and a half million people are a lot to have mad at you. But her two likely opponents, land commissioner Jerry Patterson and ag commissioner Todd Staples, do not have the kind of office that lends itself to fundraising, and Combs has raised around $10 million. Susan Combs in an office that has been occupied by the likes of Bullock and Hobby? The poor Senate.