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Embattled UT Regent and Rick Perry Crony Wallace Hall Abused His Office, Report Finds

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:30 AM CDT

UT Regent Wallace Hall has been found to have committed impeachable offenses, according to a draft  report commissioned by the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations.

Hall was found to have abused the powers of his office and may have broken the law in his campaign to force the UT Regents to vote to fire UT President Bill Powers.

Hall is Rick Perry's go-to guy on the UT Board of Regents. Hall and Jeff Sandefer, another major Perry donor and controversial higher ed "reformer", are key influencers in Rick Perry's higher education policy, particularly his call for a $10,000 college degree.

Read the key parts of the report and brush up on Hall's misdeeds below the jump.

According to the draft report, Hall leaked confidential student information, which is against the law. He also tried to pressure UT administrators to change their testimony and "sought retaliatory employment action."

Hall's repeated open records requests have cost the University a great deal in man power over the last years as his "witch hunt" worked its way through the UT tower. The Houston Chronicle writes:

Additionally, the report alleges Hall abused his position by demanding overly burdensome records requests, which cost UT-Austin more than $1 million to comply with, bullying university administration staffers whom he opposed, undermining the University's public image and continuing to seek Powers' termination even though the committee had asked him and other regents to refrain from such activity.

The report includes emails sent by Hall in which he did little to hide his disapproval of Powers. In one described in the report, Hall tells the Board of Regents that "they were being 'held hostage by terrorists' and that firing Powers would only result in a 'two week' reaction that could easily be overcome."

The report was clear that Hall had committed offenses that could justify his forcible removal from office. The draft report states:

Counsel concludes that the Committee is therefore authorized and empowered to propose appropriate articles of impeachment against Wallace L. Hall, Jr. for some, but not all, of his investigated conduct pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 665. If the Committee chooses to recommend impeachment to the full House of Representatives, then the facts and law would support at least four bases for such a recommendation.

When asked for comment, President Bill Powers stated "I think I'll leave it to [the committee] on how to evaluate the report. This has been a difficult time, and it has diverted the campus from a lot of important work."

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