Updated: Co-chair of transparency committee calls Regent Hall’s actions “a slap in the face”


Charlie Pearce

UT System Regent Wallace Hall prepares to leave after a UT System Board of Regents meeting on April 29.

Updated (11:45 a.m.): During the opening remarks of the House transparency committee hearing Monday, Rep. Dan Flynn, committee co-chair and R-Canton, described Regent Wallace Hall’s actions as a “slap in the face” to the Texas Legislature.

“The degree to which Mr. Hall refrained from participating demonstrates that he wanted his role in this investigation to be under his conditions or not at all,” Flynn said.

After eight minutes, the committee moved to executive session to discuss their decision. Flynn said today’s hearing could result in a recommendation of impeachment, the committee postponing their decision or no action.

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, commended his fellow committee members for their dedication to the investigation.

“Nobody on this committee asked for this assignment,” Martinez-Fischer said. “This committee will certainly do what’s necessary to act….It’s important for us to have a very robust discussion. I think we need to come out here and present a united face.”

— Madlin Mekelburg

Original story: A major step in the almost year-long investigation of UT System Regent Wallace Hall will take place Monday, when the House transparency committee investigating Hall will vote on whether to recommend his impeachment. Hall is under investigation for potentially overstepping his bounds as a regent and conducting what some legislators have referred to as a “witch hunt” to oust President William Powers Jr.

If the committee decides to recommend impeachment, Hall’s case will go to the full Texas House of Representatives. If a majority of the members of the House approve of the case’s merits, it will go to the Senate, where members will convene as a court to make a final decision. If the Senate concurs with the committee’s recommendation, Hall will be the first non-elected official to be impeached in Texas history.

In April, the committee released a report indicating Hall likely committed several impeachable offenses. The report, written Rusty Hardin, special counsel to the committee, and his law firm, cited several examples of Hall’s alleged misconduct.

“Hall’s unreasonable and burdensome requests from records and information from UT Austin violated, and continue to violate, the Texas Education Code, the Texas Penal Code, the Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, and the best interests of the [UT System],” the report said. “Hall’s improper use of confidential information violated federal and state privacy statutes … any one of these conclusions would support a decision by the Committee to propose articles of impeachment against [Hall].”

To get live updates from tomorrow’s meeting, follow Jordan Rudner @jrud and Madlin Mekelburg @madlinbmek throughout the day. The hearings will begin at 10:30 a.m.