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Transparency committee hearings on UT Regent could lead to impeachment

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TWC News: Transparency committee hearings on UT Regent could lead to impeachment
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The Select Committee on House Transparency in State Agency Operations will move forward with hearings that could lead to the impeachment of a University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, Jr.

A resolution, filed by House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, alleges Hall--a Gov. Rick Perry appointee--broke state law by not revealing potential business conflicts when applying for the UT Board position. The same measure also says the regent abused his authority by making unnecessary open records requests, targeting UT President Bill Powers.

"The gentleman who is pursuing very aggressively and ultimately created a witch's hunt within the Board of Regents, within the UT System,” committee member Rep. Lyle Larson said. “Now he is the one we are investigating."

Committee Co-Chairs Carol Alvarado and Dan Flynn ask for compliance from all involved to "ensure a full and fair investigation." There will be an appointed special prosecutor, along with another investigator, on the case.

This is the first time the State of Texas has held hearings to remove any state university board member. According to Legislative Council, there have been two impeachments of public officials total in Texas history.

"We have been in the process of finding an attorney that will kind of act like our district attorney," Flynn said. "Because of the historical nature of what we are doing, we have to do this right.”

The hearing witness list will include University of Texas Systems Board Chair Gene Powell, UT President Bill Powers and Regent Hall, among others.

"Like anything in life, you just talk to the person directly, find out if he will be candid with us about what has transpired and then we will be able to determine exactly if we are going to pursue this any further," Larson said.

The hearings are expected to begin late August or early September, and could last several days.

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