Wednesday, September 26, 2018

#TXLEGE: An EXTREMELY Fishy Accusation Against Schwertner

"Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.

For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked."
Psalm 141:5

[Note: If anyone reading this has a better idea what's really happening, e-mail us at; confidentiality guaranteed.]

Sssssssssssssssssay what?!?
The University of Texas is investigating an allegation that state Sen. Charles Schwertner sent a sexually explicit image and text message to a graduate student he met at an on-campus event this summer, three senior UT officials with knowledge of the investigation told the American-Statesman.

If the allegation is deemed true, the university would consider banning Schwertner from campus, two of the officials said. The third official said the university is also considering hiring outside legal counsel to investigate further.

Through a spokesman, Schwertner on Tuesday said he “categorically denies any knowledge of the accusations” and plans to cooperate with UT’s investigation.

The student met Schwertner, a Georgetown Republican and a UT alumnus, at an on-campus event to which Schwertner was invited and told him she was interested in working at the Legislature, according to two of the officials. After the event, they exchanged messages on the networking site LinkedIn before moving to text messaging, the two officials said.

During an otherwise professional exchange on networking and career advice, Schwertner abruptly wrote, “I just really want to f—- you,” and sent her an image that appeared to be a picture of his genitals that was taken in the shower, according to a UT official who has seen the exchange and the photo. The image does not include his face, the official said. The Statesman has not seen the photo.

The student told Schwertner that she thought he had acted inappropriately, the officials said, and Schwertner did not respond. The student then reported Schwertner’s behavior to the school, prompting the investigation, they said.

All UT officials interviewed by the Statesman declined to reveal the identity of the student out of respect for her privacy and to honor the promise of confidentiality that the university made to her when she reported the incident. Student privacy laws also prohibit the university from disclosing the student’s name.

The officials, who declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak on the matter, said that the investigation into Schwertner has not found any potentially criminal misconduct.

Schwertner campaign spokesman Tom Holloway said Tuesday in a statement, “The Senator categorically denies any knowledge of the accusations leveled against him and only became aware of this allegation when contacted by the media late this afternoon. The Senator is eager to cooperate with the University of Texas and hopes to make clear he played no part in the behavior described.”

In a statement, UT spokesman Gary Susswein said the university does not discuss ongoing investigations “in order to protect the integrity of the investigative process.”

[Note: Emphasis added.]
Seriously...Charles Schwertner?!?


Wasn't expecting that one.

Now, look, the Texas Legislature has a VERY serious problem with sketchy sexual behavior among its members.  Among its members, we wouldn't put this sort of behavior past ANY of them (including the ones we like).  But...Charles Schwertner?!?

We suppose it's possible.

But this is the first time we've ever heard Charles Schwertner's name associated with this sort of behavior.

Very few people have been more outspoken than this author about the Texas legislature's need to clean up this behavior (see here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here).  During that time, we've heard unflattering reports about any number of legislators.  We've seen sketchy behavior from several legislators.  But this is the first time Charles Schwertner's name has come up.

We've been working sources since last night.  So far, it's unanimous.  This seems to be the first time anyone, anywhere, has heard any sort of allegation along these lines regarding Schwertner.

Then there's this:

This is not to say it's impossible.  Certainly, none of us participated in the alleged conversation.  But it is to say that, as far as we can tell, this is the first time Charles Schwertner's name has ever come up in association with this sort of behavior.


Which begs a natural follow up question.  Where, pray tell, did this accusation emerge?!?  Glad you asked:
[T]hree senior UT officials
So, the accusation isn't coming from the afflicted party.  It's coming from "three senior UT officials" not speaking on the record.  No doubt laundered through several layers of the UT bureaucracy.

Why does this matter?!?

Because UT has a history with Schwertner.  And UT also has a history of fighting dirty when their financial interests are threatened.  Very dirty.

More than any other Senator, Charles Schwertner has taken the lead against UT's incessant tuition hikes.  Schwertner has also voted against Regent nominees.  Thus, he's a threat.  If you don't think UT is willing to fight this dirty to protect its financial interests, you don't know UT.

Then there's the alleged matter of privacy.  It would not be difficult to redact the accuser's personally identifiable information.  Even if they didn't want to make it public, they could have at least show a copy of the picture to the Statesman.  That they didn't, while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, is suspicious.

Again, that's not to say it's impossible.  UT could be telling the truth.  But their record of truthfulness, especially where money is concerned leaves a lot to be desired.


That being said, for UT's sake, they better have the goods.

From the Lt. Governor:

It doesn't take a genius to read between those lines.  If UT doesn't have the goods, they just picked a gigantic fight with the Senate and the Lt. Governor.  That suggests UT knows what they're doing.  But the UT politburo's record also suggests they're arrogant enough to try.

Only time will tell.

Last session, the Senate caved on Regents and the higher ed budget.  Efforts on tuition fizzled in the house.  That can change.

But here's where they're really playing with fire: UT's record on Title IX leaves a lot to be desired.  Now they're making an, at best, thinly sourced allegation against a Senator.  Woe unto them if they are wrong.


Even more than Dan Patrick, however, the person to watch is Greg Abbott.  It's not a secret that, both as Governor and as Attorney General, Greg Abbott has run a lot of interference for UT.  Does that continue?!?

There are already signs Abbott is getting sick of UT's nonsense.  Late last year, Abbott's staff started leaking about his displeasure with the University.  And that was after Abbott forced out the Chairman of the Board after he started working to undermine Abbott's legislative agenda.

And now "three senior UT officials" are leaking to the Statesman about this sensitive of a topic.

Does anybody think they gave the Governor's office a head's up?!?


Since this issue re-emerged last year, our biggest fear has been that it would become weaponized for political purposes.  We don't know that that's what happened in this instance.  But it's happened before.

On the other hand, the Senate's reaction to previous allegations has sucked.

If it takes a weak accusation against a Republican for the Senate to get its act together, that might be a silver lining.


Finally: This is exactly why we offered our platform amendment at the convention.  We specifically called on the Legislature to establish a "credible system of due process."  At the time, it was primarily about the known cases.  But imagine if such a system was in place now.

Unfortunately, RPT convention delegates, YOU'RE the ones who voted it down.

The Schwertner situation is a textbook example of why the adopted platform language is dangerous.


Bottom Line: It's a mess.  We'll have to see how it unfolds.  But there's A LOT of history between these two parties.

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