AUSTIN (KXAN) - For the first time, a Texas House panel is hearing witness testimony in an ongoing probe of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall.
The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations took their seats Tuesday morning in a hearing room at the State Capitol to move forward with their ongoing investigation of Hall, which may conclude with articles of impeachment being filed against him.
"We are not just here to clear the air, we are here to set the record straight," said State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston.
Lawmakers are trying to determine if Hall failed to disclose information on his regent application, mishandled private student information, and overstepped his role by requesting massive amounts of information from the university.
Some state lawmakers have accused Hall of misusing the authority of his office in an effort to force out UT Austin President Bill Powers.
House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who filed a resolution to begin the impeachment proceedings during a special session earlier this year led off the witness testimony.
Rep. Pitts told the panel "enough is enough" and said Hall should not continue in his regent role.
"His vendetta is hurting the credibility and prestige of one of our state’s best assets," said Rep. Pitts.
Hall's attorney has questioned whether two lawmakers on the panel can be impartial after accepting free tickets from Powers to a recent Texas football game. The university has long offered tickets to football games to all members of the Legislature.
"Clearly [Rep. Pitts] is out to get Regent Hall whom I believe his greatest fault is doing his job too carefully and not being a part of the good 'ole boy's club," said Hall's attorney, Allan Van Fleet.
Hall did not attend Tuesday's hearing. Van Fleet said he advised him to watch from home. He said his client is simply trying to make sure no one gets political favors or unfair raises, and that the university is accurately fulfilling public information requests.
Hall is expected to testify at some point.
"Regent Hall is actually anxious to come down and tell his story," said Van Fleet.
The committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday. Other witnesses expected to be called include the university's chief financial officer and the communications director.
KXAN media partner The Texas Tribune has been following the investigation for more than a year. Click here for their ongoing coverage.
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