Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall Donated $100,000 To PAC Opposing Public School Bonds Across Texas

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UT Regent Wallace Hall donated $100,000 to a PAC that funded efforts to defeat ISD bonds and other local ballot measures across the state on the November 2013 ballot.

Hall is currently leading the charge on behalf of Rick Perry to oust UT President Bill Powers and drastically harm public higher education in Texas.

Hall is also under threat of impeachment by a House Committee in large part because of his unprecedented open records requests filed as part of his witch-hunt against Powers.

The PAC Hall funded went 2-for-14 on opposing local ISD and bond measures on Tuesday. That's a vastly worse record than the one Mack Brown is on pace to have this season. Hall, of course, is the rogue Regent who secretly contacted Alabama coach Nick Saban about coming to UT to replace Brown.

I had no idea UT Regent and Perry BFF Wallace Hall such an efficient multi-tasker: he's simultaneously trying to get UT President Bill Powers fired while filing enough Open Records Requests to fill DKR stadium and funding a PAC that appears fixated on preventing local schools from raising bond funds to support public education. Are we sure Wallace Hall isn't a robot sent from the future to destroy education in Texas?

Below the jump, find out more about the ballot measures Hall's money opposed across Texas, including Austin's Affordable Housing bond.On September 30, 2013, Wallace Hall donated $100,000 to Accountability First PAC, a General Purpose PAC that launched this past May and had previously only spent small sums opposing various ISD measures on the May ballot. The PAC clearly has a Republican flavor: its original treasurer was James Barnes of San Antonio, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, who was paying himself handsome sums to oversee the PAC. Currently, the treasurer is James “Trey” Trainor, a former Legislative staffer who coordinated DOJ pre-clearance of Tom DeLay's controversial 2004 mid-decade redistricting plan.

One of the PAC's earliest expenditures was on polling, back in May. The polling probably suggested that “It's Ok To Say No To The School Bond” was a winning message. The PAC supported efforts across the state that pushed that very message. However, their efforts largely failed.

Here is a list of the expenditures by the PAC funded by Hall on the 8-Day report before the November 2013 election. The PAC maintained over $300,000 cash on hand on the 8-Day report, so the January semi-annual will show if they spent more against ISD and local measures across Texas.

November 2013 Bond Location Amount and Purpose of Bond Accountability First Donation Recipient of Donation Election Result
City of Bedford Bond Bedford, TX $3.2 million bond for park improvements $7250 Its OK to Say No Bedford Bond passed
City of Austin Bond Austin, TX $65 million affordable housing bond $8140 Texans for Accountable Government Bond passed
City of Burleson Bond Burleson, TX (1) $12.84 million bond for street and public mobility improvements;
(2) $1.8 million bond for the acquisition of public safety radio equipment;
(3) $5 million bond for police station facility acquisition and improvements;
(4) $750,000 bond for economic development: Nola Dunn gymnasium restoration
$1880 Concerned Taxpayers of Burleson Bonds 1-3 passed, Bond 4 failed
Fort Worth ISD Bond Fort Worth, TX $490 million for new schools, renovations, buses $7140 It's Okay To Say No To The School Bond Bond passed
Lovejoy ISD Bond Collin County, TX $76 million for new schools, renovations $3740 Its OK to Say NO to Lovejoy's Bond Initiative Bond failed
Mineral Wells ISD Bond Mineral Wells, TX $25 million to build a new school $1300 Vote NO Mineral Wells ISD Bond passed
Seguin ISD Bond Seguin, TX $83.3 million for a new high school $1280 kNOw Seguin ISD Bond Bond passed
City of Seguin Bond Seguin, TX (1)$15 million for a new library;
(2) $5 million parks bond
$1280 kNOw Seguin Bond Bond passed
Denton ISD Bond Denton, TX $312 million for new schools, renovations $5910 It's OK to Vote No on Denton ISD Bond Bond passed
Palmer ISD Bond Palmer, TX $15.2 million for new elementary school, renovations and security upgrades $950 Its OK to Vote NO Palmer ISD Bond passed

Hall's donation of $100,000 came at the same time that the PAC received $200,000 from Jeff Sandefer, a TPPF board member and champion of higher education “reform” which would lower standards and, like Hall, is a long-time Perry crony.

As noted above, the PAC maintained that $300,000 at the end of the 8-Day reporting period. On the 8-Day filing they reported receiving $43,000 from Montgomery Bennett — roughly what they spent opposing these local bonds. Bennett is a wealthy rancher from Dallas who previously funneled $105,000 through HillCo PAC to a challenger for a seat on the Tarrant Regional Water District board elections. (His guy lost.)  

It's possible that Bennett switched gears from funding losing water board candidates in his own backyard to funding losing efforts to defeat public school funding and municipal bonds across Texas. That begs the question that may well be answered by the January 15 reports — what was Hall and Sandefer's $300,000 intended for?


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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