House committee issues subpoena for Regent Wallace Hall-Then Recall It.

Tom Pennington

The legislative committee looking into possible articles of impeachment against UT-System Regent Wallace Hall issued a subpoena compelling Hall to appear before the committee next month.

The house committee looking into possible articles of impeachment against UT-System Regent Wallace Hall began two days of hearings Tuesday with a little "inside baseball" arguing over the need for subpoenas --and then decided to draw one up for the embattled regent for a December appearance.

edit: The committee went into executive session Tuesday and recalled the Hall subpoena due to a scheduling conflict. Right now the committee is scheduled to hold more hearings the 2nd week of December.

Hall, under fire for, among other things, allegedly overstepping his authority in conducting an investigation into UT-Austin President William Powers, will now be compelled to appear before the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agencies in December.

Tuesday's hearings began with members of the committee expressing displeasure with the UT System reversing their agreement to let employees voluntarily appear at the hearings and instead asked for "friendly subpoenas."

Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer was particularly upset over the sudden change. Phillip Hilder, an outside attorney for the UT System said it was just an extra legal protection for his clients and that they were in fact in the committee hearing room ready to testify.

After a little bickering back and forth, the committee voted to subpoena UT System Vice Chancellor Dan Sharphorn, counsel to the board of regents Francie Fredrick, and  Barbara Holthaus, an advisor to the system on privacy issues related to Hall's requests for documents from UT Austin.

The the committee voted out a subpoena for regent Hall good for the December hearings.

Hall's attorneys and the committee's special counsel, Rusty Hardin, have been going back and forth over when the regent would appear before the committee.

Now we know, and if nothing else it should make for good theater at next month's hearings.

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