Telling a sympathetic audience of Austin’s political establishment he is “awfully sick” of hearing about problems at the University of Texas, liberal House Speaker Joe Straus tried desperately not to sound like the man who tried to cover them up. And who is worried that an independent investigation will land him in some very hot water.
The state’s flagship institution has been roiled with controversy as officials at UT-Austin sought to cover up a host of improprieties. Financial malfeasance and corruption were brought to light by UT regent Wallace Hall, who decided it was time to stop rubber-stamping the wishes and whims of bureaucrats and clout-wielding lawmakers.
Among the most explosive scandals uncovered by Regent Hall is lawmakers improperly using their legislative influence to gain admission for students who otherwise would not have been given a seat at the university or its related programs.
Straus’ comments came at an event hosted by the left-leaning Texas Tribune, which is funded by UT-Austin. The online publication referred to the UT controversies as “drama” in their coverage. The UT-funded news group only passingly referred to the fact that the “UT system has commissioned an outside review” of the scandals.
In reality it is a full-fledged investigation, which Straus loyalists have tried to derail.
Straus and his puppets first tried to silence Hall by means of the Orwellian-named “Transparency” Committee – which was set-up so Republican Dan Flynn and Democrat Carol Alvarado could bully Hall into silence because he had been asking too many questions.
Hall refused to be bullied, leaving the committee scrambling. They trashed his name, but he hasn’t stepped aside.
Instead, every single scandal he blew the whistle on has borne out: financial malfeasance, a payola scheme, and a legislative clout-abuse landing right at Joe Straus’ feet.
After the UT System launched their investigation into clout-abuse, the Flynn-Alvarado committee decided that they should have representatives in every meeting conducted by the independent investigators. Of course, no constitutional authority, legislative precedent or statutory rule gives Straus cronies the authority to do so.
Like the perpetrator in a TV crime show, Straus is trying to inject his minions into the investigation so they can derail or mislead it. The UT System has wisely declined their advances.