QUOTING… “When I feel the heat, I see the light.” — Everett Dirksen
From EmpowerTexans.com, by Michael Quinn Sullivan, 07/17/13 – With the kind of mind-wrenching contortions only a politician can muster without breaking a sweat, the Texas House Select Committee on Transparency will soon be meeting behind closed doors.
Apparently some legislators aren’t too keen about Texans finding out they’re trying to silence a university regent who has been asking one too many tough questions. Questions the answers to which might point to corruption, influence-peddling, and fiscal mismanagement. Can’t talk about that, can we?
Maybe they don’t want to… But we will.
Meanwhile, the Texas Legislature is still working through the second special session of 2013. If it doesn’t
feel special, you’re right: these extra-innings cost taxpayers roughly $1 million each. With a near-supermajority in both chambers, the GOP should have taken care of business in the regular session.
Of course, the Texas House is really run by 55 Democrats and 20-25 moderate-to-liberal Republicans.
As Dustin Matocha reported yesterday that governing cabal in the House keep thwarting sensible fiscal protections. The current special session is about transportation funding. Caution lights should be flashing already.
The House leadership’s solution is to divert revenues intended for the state’s “rainy day fund” over to transportation. In turn, taxpayers would be asked to end the diversion of gas-tax dollars to public education, instead using other “general
revenues” to keep schools “whole” in the budget process.
So, the House is basically swapping out diversions.
In the midst of that, State Rep. Ron Simmons of Carrollton introduced a sensible amendment to safeguard the rainy day fund balance by putting the diversion on hold any time if rainy day fund balance fell too low. After all, the fund is there to
keep the state’s budget level when rocky economic times strike. Despite two-thirds of the Republican majority supporting the pro-responsibility amendment, that bipartisan coalition of reckless spenders killed it. (Here’s the list.)
With no trace of irony, the House Transparency Committee decided to meet in secret sometime soon so they can begin their witch-hunt against University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall.
Mr. Hall’s crime? Doing his job as a university regent by asking questions about finances and operations. Some highly paid bureaucrats don’t like that one bit, nor do a select group of wealthy donors and legislators who treat the institution as if it were their private domain and not a state agency.
There is growing recognition of the highly inappropriate – possibly unethical and even illegal – activities at the University of Texas School of Law and elsewhere, pointing to even deeper problems. Lots of questions simply need to be answered. Questions and answers some legislators, bureaucrats and donors clearly want to avoid.
Why? One possible reason can be found in the University of Illinois’ “clout scandal.” There, unqualified students were admitted to the school based on their relationships to rich and powerful people. Influence-peddling in government? I’m sure you’re shocked…
Michael Quinn Sullivan
& the EmpowerTexans.com Team