Texas lawmakers investigate UT System regent

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Associated Press

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 6:32 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House launched a formal investigation into a University of Texas System regent on Tuesday and will consider whether to impeach him.

House Speaker Joe Straus assigned the investigation into Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas to the Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations.

"Over the last year, Members of this House have consistently expressed concerns about the conduct of the University of Texas Board of Regents. These concerns warrant further inquiry," Straus said.

Republican Rep. Jim Pitts asked lawmakers to investigate because of Hall's continued use of massive open records requests for emails and other documents searching for information from and about campus President Bill Powers, other school officials and legislators. Gov. Rick Perry, who appointed Hall, has been in a years-long feud with Powers.

Hall also failed to disclose his involvement in several lawsuits when he filled out a questionnaire prior to his Senate Confirmation. He did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Dan Flynn, who chairs the committee, promised a fair and impartial investigation.

"Transparency is very important to all Texans and this situation is certainly one in need of transparency," Flynn said. "This is a strongly bi-partisan committee with a strong track record of success in passing transparency legislation during regular session and I am fully confident that we shall be able to continue working together for all Texans."

Tuesday was also the last day of a special legislative session, but Straus authorized the committee to work as necessary and can call the House back if the committee recommends impeachment proceedings.

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