Wallace Hall should stand his ground

From TribTalk, By , May 14, 2014

Photo by Charlie Pearce

I know a little about how Wallace Hall, the embattled University of Texas System regent, might be feeling right now.

It takes courage to stand your ground. I learned that the tough way last legislative session. Conservatives were under relentless pressure to increase spending and grow government. The powers that be wanted us to sit down, shut up and not cause any trouble. It wasn’t easy for my conservative colleagues and me to stand up and fight when we were alone or when we knew we were on the losing side. But we stuck together because we knew our cause was just.

Hall has been under assault by the political establishment for months — his character attacked and name dragged through the mud. His case was recently thrown to the den of liberal wolves at the Travis County public integrity unit in an attempt to bring criminal charges against him.

Why? Because Hall dared to stand up and demand both transparency and accountability at the University of Texas at Austin. Now, the very legislators who may be connected to the scandals he has uncovered are working with the Austin media to destroy him.

Must I be the only elected official to tell the emperor he has no clothes?

The very idea that a university regent — who is tasked by the Texas Constitution and by statute with overseeing a public institution of higher education — could be impeached for asking questions is absurd. It’s even more absurd when the people attacking that regent admit that he uncovered serious malfeasance that has yet to be addressed.

It’s clear to me that this has become a fight between the grassroots and the establishment.

Just days before the state House committee investigating Hall voted that there were grounds to impeach him, committee co-chair Dan Flynn wrote a letter laying out all of the reasons why Mr. Hall should be commended, not impeached. Why has Flynn’s position been all over the map throughout this whole process? Is he truly confused, or is he being manipulated?

In his letter, Flynn reminded his committee that “if not for Regent Hall the ‘payola’ scheme that provided more than 6 million dollars in forgivable loans from the University of Texas’ Law School Foundation, prompting the investigation into legislative favors would not have been uncovered.”

Those favors were fleshed out by Watchdog.org, which reported on Tuesday that dozens of UT Law School graduates who failed the bar exam two, three or more times have connections, including family relationships, to powerful legislators.

Flynn is also pushing to investigate more than $1 million in contracts awarded to Accenture by UT-Austin President Bill Powers without the​ board of regents’ approval — another scandal uncovered through Hall’s diligent efforts. We need answers, and it is clear Hall is the only one willing to ask the tough questions.

The fight to clean up corruption in this state and return control of their government to the citizens of Texas is only beginning. Hall should stand firm against those trying to silence him. The scandals that he is uncovering at UT must come to light so that those of us in the Legislature who oppose public corruption can begin the hard work of moving our state forward. The future of accountability and transparency in Texas government may very well depend on him.

For the sake of Texas, I hope Hall stands strong against these attacks. He will not be alone.

Jonathan Stickland

State representative, R-Bedford




2 responses

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    I hope Mr Hall is able to expose at least some of the corruption favoritism and cronyism that beset Texas decades ago, and far beyond just issues at UT.

    The entire state is beset with corporate-lobbyist rule, and the elected “pimps” spend most of their time catering to their financial bosses, and not YOU the voter and citizen.

    Just look at how SO-CALLED “conservative Republicans” have stolen our highway system under the phony euphemism of “privitization”. And the same group have led the raid on the State Treasury to steal water rights.

    Phil King & Craig Estes stand proudly with Rick Perry and Joe Strauss to plunder the citizens of Texas. Interesting of course, that Strauss is one of Mr. Halls’ strongest critics.

    “The Texas House is moving toward impeachment. After that closed meeting this week, an eight-member committee voted, 7-1, that there were grounds to do so. They will meet again next week to talk about drafting articles of impeachment, which, if approved, could be delivered to the full House for consideration. Even some of his fellow regents are now asking for his resignation.

    Though that sounds awful for Hall, its could bring attention to his complaints about UT-Austin in particular and higher education in general. All he stands to lose is a nonpaying, appointed job. Instead of defending his digging, he might get a chance to reveal what he dug up.

    An impeachment could turn Hall from an appointee who overstepped his authority and tried to micromanage his charge — a story line that has predominated so far — into an appointee who encountered serious resistance in his efforts to oversee an institution he was appointed to help oversee.

    It depends on what you find more offensive: politically appointed micromanagers or insulated academics and bureaucrats.”

  2. Senator_Blutarsky

    snip- read full article below-

    Since this last graduate’s family has donated more than $52,000 over the years to Zaffirini, we asked the senator’s office whether the senator’s law school support was mercenary or a matter of family connections.

    Zaffirini spokesman Will Krueger emailed us on March 7 to say the man’s “family and the senator’s family have been friends for at least three generations — on both his mother’s side of the family and his father’s side.”

    Aside from two names, the remaining double flunkies on our list of 24 hail from Laredo. One of the others is a friend of Fischer. The other is a former staffer for Gov. Rick Perry and ex-state Rep. Carl Isett.

    Some of the graduates who failed the bar just once might raise eyebrows. The list includes the child of a UT Law professor, the grandchild of a Pitts supporter, and the grandchild of a former governor, but we didn’t check out too many of these names, as anybody could screw up the bar exam once.

    The UT System Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss admissions favoritism during a private meeting Thursday. Cigarroa’s report on the issue has been finished for nearly a month.


    Corruption and favoritism among our ‘law makers’………surely not

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