For more than two years the administration of House Speaker Joe Straus has fought against UT Regent Wallace Hall and his efforts to shed light on an admissions scandal at the University of Texas at Austin. Hall has been repeatedly stonewalled as he has investigated abuse of the admissions system at UT by politicians and donors to the university. Thanks to the Dallas Morning News, now we know why.

In response to Hall’s diligence, Straus appointed a hand-picked committee, the Orwellian-named Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, to attempt to impeach Hall. When the committee failed, Straus worked hand-in-hand with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to attempt to indict hall on absurd charges.

Today the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Straus is amongst a group of politicians, also including Former US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and State Senators Kevin Eltife and Carlos Uresti, who succeeded in getting underqualified students admitted to UT.

House Speaker Straus wrote to the director of the admissions office in November 2012 requesting consideration of the daughter of a close family friend. Later in 2013, Straus directed a committee to investigate Hall, who had doggedly been pursuing investigations into UT operations.

“I know [the student] well as our families are close friends,” Straus wrote in the letter addressed to Kedra Ishop, who was then director of admissions. She “is a multi-generation Longhorn legacy, dating back to 1924.”

Straus maintains a coalition government in the House composed of Democrats and liberal Republicans. Since taking office in 2009, Straus’s administration has repeatedly obstructed conservative reforms.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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