- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
Panel finds impeachment grounds against UT regent
Question of the Day
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Texas House panel on Monday found grounds for impeachment against University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall over his relentless efforts to get the Austin flagship campus president fired, the initial step in what could be the first removal of a governor-appointed official in state history.
The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations voted 7-1 on the motion and is scheduled to vote on specific impeachment charges later this month.
Those articles of impeachment would go to the full House for consideration. If approved, the Senate would conduct a trial.
“My efforts as a regent are to serve the interests of our great educational institutions, the students, faculty, and staff who make them great, and the taxpayers who fund them, not to appease a privileged class who abuse them,” Hall said in a statement after the vote.
There have been few impeachment trials in state history and only two have been successful: Gov. James “Pa” Ferguson in 1917 and a district judge in 1975.
“I do not fault him for having an agenda,” said Rep. Carol Alvarado of Houston, a Democrat and co-chair of the committee. “I fault him for the inappropriate means by which he continues to try to accomplish it.”
At issue is whether Hall, a Dallas businessman appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011, abused the power of his office in his investigations of University of Texas President Bill Powers through massive open records requests that swamped university and system officials, and whether he violated state and federal student privacy laws or harmed the school’s reputation.
An investigation report for the committee says Hall may have broken the law. The Travis County district attorney’s anti-corruption unit has opened a separate criminal investigation.
Hall has denied breaking any laws and argued that all of his records demands and inquiries into Powers‘ tenure as president fell within his responsibility as a regent charged with overseeing the system’s 15 education and medical institutions. Hall said his efforts probed political influence in university admissions, school fundraising and a law school loan program.
Hall is one of nine board members and isn’t the only one who has clashed with Powers over myriad issues, including tuition and graduation rates and the role of teaching and research in education.
But it has been Hall’s aggressive and relentless pursuit of records and his questions over Powers‘ leadership that drew scrutiny from lawmakers. Powers has enjoyed broad support in the Legislature and from many prominent university financial donors.
Many of those top donors are members of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, which had called on Hall to resign.
“This is a somber day. No one is excited about a vote like this but it was, unfortunately, warranted. Our Coalition has been gravely concerned about the governance of our state’s public institutions, and today’s actions confirm our concern has been justified,” the group said in a statement.
Rep. Kyle Larsen, R-San Antonio, called on the board of regents to cast a “no confidence” vote in Hall and said Perry should ask for Hall’s resignation.
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq