UT Regent Wallace Hall: Speaker Straus Tried to Force Me to Resign

UT Regent Wallace Hall: Speaker Straus Tried to Force Me to Resign

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, Jr. delivered a fiery speech at a conservative gala last weekend, detailing the efforts of Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and others to force him to resign, and thanking those who had stood by him.

As Breitbart Texas reported, Hall has been under attack for his efforts to investigate allegations of financial improprieties and favoritism in admissions at the University of Texas. Hall has faced sharp criticism, personal investigations, a “motion of admonishment and censure” from the Legislature, and threats of criminal investigations and lawsuits. Throughout it all, he has remained steadfast in his position that he was correct, and investigations by Watchdog Texas and other groups have repeatedly proven Hall’s suspicions to have merit. Hall’s opponents, however, have also not wavered, and in a speech he delivered at the Empower Texans’ Conservative Leaders Gala, Hall shared shocking details of exactly how far they were willing to go. [Disclosure: Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan is a Breitbart Texas contributor.]

Hall thanked Governor Perry “for his private and public support” at the beginning of his remarks, saying that Perry had “starting from the first day, withstood calls for my resignation.”

“Governor Perry has stood up against withering attacks so that an unpaid volunteer could carry out his oath of office to all Texans,” continued Hall. “I and others would have been swept aside by the entrenched political class in Austin, whose obsession is to protect their status quo.” Hall also credited Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick for publicly defending his efforts.

Speaker Straus, on the other hand, has been no ally. In his speech, Hall described for the first time publicly how strongly Straus had tried to force him to resign from the UT Board of Regents. According to Hall, Straus was unsympathetic to the attacks and harassment targeting Hall and had said about him, “I do not care if Wallace Hall swings from a tree.”

According to Hall, right before the Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, a committee hand-selected by Straus, issued the statement censuring Hall and urging that he be investigated for a possible criminal indictment, Straus reached out to Perry to try to convince the Governor to put pressure on Hall to resign.

“Speaker Straus offered the governor a deal,” said Hall. “He would make all this pressure go away if I would simply resign.” 

Perry, and Hall, stood firm, and the House Committee issued the motion to censure, encourage Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to indict him. 

Hall vowed that he would not back down, regardless of any retaliation attempts. “No amount of pressure from politicians in Austin will change me,” he said. “Nor will it change my obligations to the citizens of Texas whose interests I am empowered to protect.”

Hall is now awaiting to find out if there will in fact be a criminal indictment from a Travis County grand jury. He also remarked that how Governor-elect Abbott approaches the ongoing investigations at UT “will be telling.”

Jason Embry, the communications director for Speaker Straus, sent the following statement to Breitbart Texas by email on Thursday afternoon:

“Speaker Straus has zero influence over Wallace Hall’s criminal case and has never suggested otherwise to anyone. In fact, he has never made an offer to Governor Perry about anything. As challenging as it may be for some in the media to see the desperate screeds of a disgraced lobbyist and his Midland benefactor for what they are, Speaker Straus is focused on uniting the Texas House to address real priorities.”

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker


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