A Travis County Grand Jury sent out notice earlier today that University of Texas Regent and whistleblower Wallace Hall will not be indicted on any charges, but not before they attempted to besmirch his reputation in a baffling public letter calling for less transparency.
The grand jury was investigating whether or not Hall abused his official capacity as a regent and misused public information in issuing open records requests. He issued the requests as part of an investigation into whether or not legislators were abusing their clout in order to gain admission to UT-Austin for under-qualified students.
An independent investigation by Kroll Associates has now vindicated Hall’s assertions, confirming the malfeasance at UT was even worse than most observers believed.
His refusal to play along with the corrupt practices made leadership uncomfortable enough to take action, prompting the Orwellian-named House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations—chaired by State Reps. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) and Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)—to investigate his actions for possible impeachment. When the committee failed to find justification to impeach Hall, they censured him, and referred the matter to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office for a criminal investigation. Using the recommendations from the committee, documented testimony, and various witnesses with relevant information, the grand jury decided not to indict Wallace Hall, but not before making some baffling suggestions to UT’s Board of Regents.
In their comments, members of the grand jury recommended removing Hall after they just cleared him of all charges. “We are appalled at the Regent’s unaccountable and abusive behavior,” the report contradictorily states. The jury’s observations go on to say “Hall used his positional power to the point of abuse,” one of the very charges they determined lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.
More baffling, however, is that the grand jury simultaneously observed, “Transparency and accountability are key elements in maintaining citizens’ trust in their government,” but then went on to recommend UT revise its policies to make records requests prohibitively difficult for regents.
It speaks volumes that the grand jury, whose recommendations and observations cast it as a mere apologist for UT’s established leadership, would not indict Regent Hall despite taking an extra three months to investigate him. Hall has been vindicated at every turn, despite baseless attacks on him for actually doing his job, instead of just playing along.