Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall could be on his way to becoming the state’s first appointed official to be impeached (and only the third person to be impeached in Texas history.)
On Monday, the Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations “started outlining a road map for the [impeachment] process,” the Texas Tribune
‘s Reeve Hamilton reported
, and scheduled six committee meetings between now and December.
Governor Rick Perry appointed Hall to the UT System Board of Regents in 2011. Complaints have dogged him increasingly in recent months, related to his sweeping public information requests and whether he listed all the lawsuits he was involved with on his original application to become a regent.
What questions will the committee attempt to answer in their investigation? Committee Co-chair Dan Flynn, R-Canton, laid out the following three questions, according
to the Austin American-Statesman
‘s Ralph K.M. Haurwitz:
Did Hall fail to disclose material information on his application to be a regent? Did he reveal information about students that violated their privacy? Did he exceed his role as a regent in requesting massive amounts of information from UT-Austin?
One of Hall’s lawyers noted the strangeness of holding Monday’s hearing about transparency behind closed doors. “Despite all the platitudes about transparency, the real business is being done in secrecy,” said Allan Van Fleet, Haurwitz reported. Rusty “Slicker ‘n Deer Guts on a Doorknob” Hardin, is serving as special counsel for the committee, assured him that witness testimony and all votes will occur in public.
Hardin said that the goal of the investigation is “to decide what Hall did and did not do, and determine what the role of a University of Texas regent is,”David Barer wrote in the Dallas Morning News. If this evolves into a protracted investigation, it could, as Chad Swiatecki of the Austin Business Journal pointed out, could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time it is over.
In April, Texas Monthly‘s Brian D. Sweany explored some of these issues in an extended chat with Hall, who opened up about the board, the legislature, and UT president Bill Powers.
Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas takes part in a University of Texas Regents meeting in July in Austin. Hall is the subject of a House impeachment investigation. (AP Photo | Eric Gay)