Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called the ongoing impeachment investigation into University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall “extraordinary political theater,” and said his appointee’s quest for voluminous records from the University of Texas at Austin was justified.
A legislative committee is mulling whether to draw up articles of impeachment against Hall, who has been accused of overstepping the bounds of his authority by making burdensome requests of UT-Austin staff, misrepresenting information about himself on his application to be a regent and mishandling private student information. Hall and his attorneys have strongly refuted the allegations.
Speaking to reporters in Austin after casting an early vote in the constitutional amendment election, Perry said he fully supported Hall and his efforts to obtain records from the system’s flagship university.
“I think the idea that a regent or an appointee at any place in government is being stymied from asking questions about the operation of a particular agency is very, very bad public policy,” Perry said. “I think it is sending a horrible message to the public.”
Texas lawmakers have repeatedly accused Hall of being on a “witch hunt” targeting UT-Austin President Bill Powers. Hall’s lawyers, meanwhile, have suggested that the regent is being targeted because he turned up evidence that powerful Texas lawmakers have pulled strings to get family members into UT, among other things.
Perry said his appointee should be allowed to keep digging.
“I just think that at the end, the public’s need to know and the public’s right to know, questions that Mr. Hall is asking, is totally and absolutely correct," Perry said. "And at the end of the day, we’ll find out whether there are things that are being hidden, things that individuals don’t want to have out in the public."