Vol 31, Issue 14 Print Issue

Inside Intelligence: About Those Regents...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about the impeachment efforts against a University of Texas regent, about the reputation of UT’s flagship in Austin and about whether the turmoil will affect UT’s search for a new chancellor.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The LBJ Presidential Library drew national attention this week by hosting the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The biggest headlines were around the appearances of President Barack Obama and three former Presidents. But other noteworthy panels were held on gay marriage, the relationship between MLK and LBJ and memories of the civil rights movement from three frontline participants.

The counsel for the House committee investigating impeachment charges against UT Regent Wallace Hall released his report, listing the grounds that could be used to support a recommendation to impeach. The draft report by Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, though, created controversy by being released to media outlets before it became publicly available.

Gov. Rick Perry announced changes to his senior staff, naming Felix Browne his new director of communications and Hugh Addington his new director of scheduling and advance. The addition of Browne, who was a Mitt Romney adviser, spurred further speculation that Perry is eyeing another run at the White House in 2016.

The SBOE fashioned a compromise with advocates of an elective course on Mexican-American studies, adding instructional materials for a number of ethnic studies courses that could be picked up voluntarily by school districts.

The Texas Department of Transportation dismantled a portion of its toll tag website after a blogger noticed that it was leaving users' credit card information exposed. The flaw left 1.2 million TxTag holders vulnerable.

Disclosure: The LBJ Library and Museum is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Sondra Haltom has been hired to serve as Texas state director for the DNC's Voter Expansion Project. Haltom founded the nonprofit group Empower the Vote Texas in December 2012 and before that was the political director for the Texas Democratic Party.

Carine M. Feyten is the sole finalist for chancellor and president of Texas Woman's University. She comes to the university from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she has been dean of the College of Education, Health and Society since 2006.

Air Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth W. Wisian has been promoted to the rank of Major General in the Texas Air National Guard. A University of Texas graduate, Wisian has served in the Air National Guard since 1994.

The political arm of the Texas Medical Association has endorsed in two GOP House runoffs: DeWayne Burns in HD-58 and Morgan Meyer in HD-108.

GOP attorney general candidate Dan Branch picked up the endorsement of State Republican Executive Committee member and Hispanic Republicans of Texas founder George Antuna.

GOP SD-10 candidate Konni Burton received endorsements from Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder and Constable Clint Burgess. The Burton camp noted that Wilder had previously supported her and former state Rep. Mark Shelton.

GOP SD-4 candidate Brandon Creighton announced the support of the Texas Patriots PAC as well as from the Kingwood and East Montgomery County Tea Parties. Creighton is running in the May 10 special election to fill the seat relinquished by Tommy Williams.