The Austin Chronicle

Anyone Heard of Conflict of Interest?

By Richard Whittaker, March 29, 2007, 2:51pm, Newsdesk

So Jay Kimbrough has finally been confirmed by the Senate as conservator of the embattled Texas Youth Commission, but it wasn't unanimous: Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, was the lone nay.

Now don't think that he's opposed to a conservator - Shapleigh has been one of the few members of the Lege honest enough to use the words rape and assault about what's been happening in TYC facilities. He's opposed to that conservator being Kimbrough, and an angry Shapleigh was seen leaving the chamber after the vote today.

Wonder why? Shapleigh is one of the few people who has done the legwork on Kimbrough. While no one is connecting him directly to the events, the lack of investigation or any potential cover-up at TYC, Kimbrough was undoubtedly in the building when all this happened. To quote Shapleigh's Web site: "In 2005, Kimbrough served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Perry, during which time Governor Perry's staff was being advised of the abuses at TYC. The following year, Kimbrough worked in the Texas Attorney General's Office as Deputy First Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Office of Special Investigations."

Gov. Rick Perry is in trouble for not paying enough attention to the TYC board and then foot-dragging after the revelations. Attorney General Greg Abbott is being looked at for failing to take allegations seriously. And Kimbrough worked for both. Amid all the back-slapping about the Legislature finally getting the conservator it asked for, it may start to regret the conservator it got.

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