After a letter Tuesday from UT Regent Wallace Hall’s attorneys accused the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations of withholding an audio recording that exonerates Hall, Committee Chairman Dan Flynn (R–Van) has capitulated. In a self-serving and petulant letter from Flynn to Eric Johnson, one of the Democratic members of the Committee, Flynn was forced to admit that a report prepared by the committee’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, contained lies about Hall.
The audio recording of the August 22, 2013 UT Board of Regents meeting apparently refutes several of the assertions contained in Hardin’s report. In response, Flynn was forced to walk back the four bases alleged by Hardin to justify Hall’s impeachment.
Dan Flynn should have done the honorable thing and apologized to Wallace Hall.
Instead, Flynn’s letter contains name-calling, attacks against Wallace Hall and continues to call for the regent to resign — despite admitting that Hall was justified in his actions.
In the letter, Dan Flynn attempts to indefinitely delay obligations to report on his committee’s findings by hinging further action on a final decision by the Travis County District Attorney’s office. At the same time, Flynn suggests that the committee should, as its immediate next step, begin investigating a scandal involving $1 Million in contracts given to Accenture by UT President Bill Powers. Flynn also suggests that the University of Texas System should pay his expenses for the whole boondoggle.
Flynn’s recommendations drew a rebuke by Rep. Eric Johnson in a responsive letter. Johnson noted that the committee did not have the jurisdiction to investigate employees of the University of Texas system. Johnson also noted the obligation of the committee to issue a final report of some kind about its findings.
Of course Johnson is right on both issues. Now that the Committee Chairman has admitted that the Committee has no basis to impeach Hall, it should wrap up its work and issue a report on whatever findings a majority of the committee can agree to. This would enable the one organization which has the constitutional authority to investigate and deal with malfeasance at UT — the University of Texas Board of Regents — to deal with the Accenture contracts, amongst other numerous controversies at UT Austin.
In his letter, Flynn seeks to play both sides. He was forced to admit that his committee’s findings were wrong, yet he attacks Wallace Hall personally.
This all comes after the committee, in conjunction with the media, was allowed to waste hundreds of thousands of tax dollars attacking the character of a man who Flynn is now forced to admit was doing the right thing.
At the same time, Flynn essentially seeks to take credit for uncovering the controversies Hall was battling and seeks to unconstitutionally thrust himself and his three ring circus of a committee into the role of investigator for those controversies.
Now that there is agreement on the underlying facts, Speaker Joe Straus, Chairman Dan Flynn, and the rest of the committee members need to step aside and allow the Regents to exercise their constitutional duties.
And they should offer Wallace Hall an apology. He was doing the people’s business all along.