The Austin Chronicle

Hall Gets Hooked by Lawmakers

By Richard Whittaker, May 12, 2014, 2:15pm, Newsdesk

Seems all that mud that UT System Regent Wallace Hall has been slinging finally stuck – to him. The House Select Committee in Transparency in State Agency Operations voted this morning to draft articles of impeachment against the controversial university leader.

Hall has been accused of a witch hunt to remove UT President Bill Powers, and of abusing his office (most particularly open records requests) to achieve that goal.

After several months of contentious hearings (in which Hall has tried to impugn the reputations of several lawmakers and claim they pressured UT to accept their relative as students), the committee met this morning and voted 7-1 that there are grounds for his firing. They will meet again on May 21 to draft the articles of impeachment. If the articles are approved by the full House, then Hall will face a trial by the Senate, who may then remove him from office. If they do so, then he will be the first statewide office holder appointed by a governor to undergo that process.

The sole nay vote was Tea Party Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, which is a little surprising: Not that the arch-conservative voted against this measure, but that Committee Co-Chair Dan Flynn, R-Van, was for it. Earlier this week, Flynn had called Hall's actions unacceptable, but "his overbearing, obnoxious attitude and blatant disregard for procedure alone is simply not a reason to impeach, nor does there appear to be the legal ground to do so."

However, today Flynn went with the majority decision. In fact, the motion to move forward was proposed by another conservative, Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio. Considering Hall has been perceived as having the full support of Gov. Rick Perry, this is a step that may have serious repercussions for Perry's presumed presidential ambitions (or at least those in the Texas capitol press corps that are talking him up as a serious contender for 2016.)

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