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The Evening Brief: Dec. 17, 2013

Your evening reading: Hall declines to testify in impeachment investigation; photos of Stockman's shuttered campaign office and they are grimy; Davis tops Google trending list

Dallas businessman Wallace Hall, Jr. takes notes at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 14, 2013 in Austin.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    UT Regent Hall Declines Invitation to Testify: "University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall has declined an invitation to testify this week before the legislative committee that is conducting an investigation of his actions as a regent — an inquiry that could result in a recommendation that he be impeached."

•    Much At Stake as LCRA Chooses a New Leader: "To some, it might sound like an impossible task. But it's clear that whoever is chosen to head the LCRA, a state nonprofit agency that is both a wholesale water supplier and an electric company with 1,800 employees and an annual budget of more than $1 billion, will face some of the toughest challenges the once-revered organization has dealt with in decades."

•    Polling Center: GOP Candidates, Voters and Creationism: "Strange as some might find the return of the creationism/evolution discussion, the candidates weren’t operating in a vacuum: Data from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll suggest that they all have good reason to think that embracing creationism as a personal belief and as a part of their education policy might help their effort to become the natural selection of a winning number of GOP primary voters."

•    Hearing Highlights Ongoing Debate Over Navigators: "Members of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met in North Texas on Monday to address the latest controversy surrounding health care 'navigators,' the workers trained to help uninsured Americans find coverage under the Affordable Care Act."

•    12 Republicans File for Race to Succeed Stockman: "The Republican primary ballot for the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman was set Monday evening  — a week later than expected — with five additional candidates signing up on the final day of filing for the Houston-area congressional seat."


•    Cornyn allies launch “Shady Stockman” barrage with Bob Perry $ (The Dallas Morning News): "A Texas SuperPAC with close ties to Sen. John Cornyn is launching a 'Shady Stockman' social media campaign to spotlight ethical questions dogging Rep. Steve Stockman, the senator’s top rival in the March primary. The political action committee, Texans for a Conservative Majority, has plenty of funds to bolster Cornyn, thanks to a $2 million donation last spring from Houston home builder Bob Perry."

•    Inside Steve Stockman's Disgusting, Condemned Campaign Office (Talking Points Memo): "Those looking for dirt on Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) need look no further. TPM has obtained photographs taken by the local officials who recently shut down Stockman's campaign office in Webster, Texas. And the images are dirty. And dusty. And grimy."

•    Abbott silent about Koch event (The Dallas Morning News): "The invitation-only gathering in August offered wealthy donors a chance to meet and mingle with GOP elected officials and leaders of conservative groups linked to the Kochs. Amid tight security, traffic was blocked on the road into the secluded luxury site near Albuquerque at the base of the Sandia Mountains. The Kochs typically have imposed secrecy around their events. Abbott declined to talk about it. His spokesman did not return a call or answer emails seeking comment. A Koch Industries spokeswoman did not respond."

•    Abbott adviser Dave Carney wants your vote. For himself. (Houston Chronicle): "Carney, a tall guy who has carried some weight, noticeably lost pounds this year. When I asked him about it a while back, he chalked it up to basics like eating better. On his Facebook page Tuesday, he said he has lost more than 120 pounds through a program and is one of the top finalists to win big money for it. He’s asking people to vote for him on the program’s site."

•    Mandela, Wendy Davis top trends on Google (The Hill): "Topping the political list was [NelsonMandela, the South African leader who died earlier this month, and Davis, who became a Twitter sensation when she held an 11-hour filibuster to block anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate. She is running for governor next year. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) were in the No. 2 spots."

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Greg Abbott John Cornyn Ted Cruz Wendy Davis