In addition, Martin Lujan, the Chief of Staff for Representative Pete Gallego (D) from 2002-2013, failed his bar exam three times after graduating from Texas Law in 2011. Isn’t the third time supposed to be the charm?
If you’re still more skeptical than queasy, here are some politically-connected characters who’ve managed to fail the bar three times (maybe they should’ve enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to bypass the whole bar thing altogether):
“Among the 13 are Carlos Manuel Zaffirini Jr., the state senator’s only son, and Jeffrey Carona, the son of Republican state Sen. John Carona. Sen. Carona has donated some $31,043 to Zaffirini’s campaign in recent years, in addition to undisclosed sums his company paid her as a “communications consultant.”
“Another three-time bar failure is the daughter of an executive with the Texas Bankers Association, which has donated to a half-dozen prominent friends of (University of Texas President Bill) Powers in the Legislature.”
“Among the Laredo-connected (three-time) bar failures are two brothers whose father is a top city health official who has worked with (Sen. Judith) Zaffirini on state-funded projects. Another needed six tries to pass the bar and another passed on his fifth try.”
On the plus side, Robert B. Armstrong, a former legislative director for Rep. Charlie Geren (R), passed the bar on his third try in 2008. He apparently ranks as the valedictorian of the group.
Get the picture?
Well, stupid is as stupid elects, to paraphrase Forrest Gump. And it appears that a few legislators have some ‘splaining’ to do (especially those who supported the Supreme Court’s decision on Fisher v. University of Texas).
Alas, it’s mostly circumstantial at this point… but a pattern does emerge. At the same time, you have the sideshow of the university regent (Wallace Hall), a strident critic of President Powers, who’s in the process of being impeached (and being pointed to as a source for these allegations). And then you have a series of emails from Senator Zaffirini, who comes across the paragon for the passive-aggressive. Here is a March 1, 2013 email from Zaffirini to President Powers, where she manages to subtly get her point across about a prospective undergraduate candidate, according to the Texas Tribune:
“I’m sure you know by now that our working group unanimously agreed to fund UT’s full [tuition revenue bond] request, since it was highly leveraged,” she wrote. “The next step will be to secure the Finance Committee’s support for our proposal. It’s likely that the lieutenant governor and other senators will amend our list of recommendations (preferably by adding and not cutting!).”
“On another subject, Senator Eltife asked me yesterday what was the appropriate way to recommend [name redacted] for co-enrollment at UT. [Name redacted] is a family friend of his who wasn’t admitted, but hopes to be admitted by way of co-enrollment. (I sent the information to you earlier.) Is this the best alternative, or are there others?”
Ah, so much more pleasant than the Chicago Way.
So what can you expect from all of this? Alas, the school has already launched a preliminary investigation into the matter. But I’ll save you the suspense and share how these matters are normally handled in the political playbook: The university will hold the usual meetings and issue the usual reports. They’ll utter a few mea culpas and formulate a ten-step plan. From there, the university will likely tighten admissions standards until the whole controversy blows over. And then… well, the school will be back to being open for business, the pedagogical playpen for the connected elite.
In the meantime, break out the popcorn and buckle up. This is going to be an entertaining ride!