The impeachment investigation brought against two Student Government (SG) executive branch members – one of whom is running for student body president – has been dismissed by the Senate. Another SG executive member, however, still faces investigation.
Charges of wrongdoing against SG Chief of Staff and Presidential Candidate Justin Hall and Attorney General Tom Green have been dismissed. David Brickhouse, deputy attorney general, is still being investigated for impeachment for wrongdoing.
At a Senate meeting Feb. 12, Green and Brickhouse were accused of incompetence and accessing SG presidential candidate Gregory “Butters” Morgan’s computer and files without permission. Brickhouse was also accused of illegally firing three executive branch employees last fall when he was chief of staff and of covering up information pertaining to events that led to former student body President Barclay Harless’ resignation. Hall was also accused of covering up the allegedly illegal firings in the fall and inappropriately handling accusations of misconduct.
The Senate decided with a 7 to 9 vote, with seven abstentions, to keep investigating Brickhouse. During the discussion, Vice President Faran Abbasi reminded the Senate that the reputation of SG is on the line.
“We are a self-destructive organization,” he said. “We talk so much about how much change we want to do and then who is the first one to tear it down? Us, internally. (When) we come back in spring or fall or the summer, we destroy ourselves, all our hard work.”
Brickhouse said he is extremely disappointed that the senators on the committee investigating his impeachment have yet to approach him and ask questions about the violations.
“It’s questionable because I have not been contacted by any senator,” he said.
He said he thinks the investigation is being prolonged because the committee has failed to follow procedure. Brickhouse is open to all investigations but said he feels the committee is questionable.
“It’s frustrating that they have failed to do this,” he said. “My name’s still being drudged through the mud. That’s not going to go unnoticed.”
Senator Bruno Portigliatti, the chair of Brickhouse’s investigation committee, said that it is better for the impeachment investigation to continue than to be dismissed by the Senate.
“The committee has the power to investigate – the Senate does not,” he said, explaining that if Brickhouse is dismissed by the Senate, it leaves the allegations against him open to question. If the committee finds these allegations unfounded after investigation or finds him not guilty, it would clear Brickhouse completely, Portigliatti said.
“As the chairman, I’m going to make sure to stay as objective and unbiased as possible and work to the best interest of the student body,” he said.
The Senate also voted to dissolve the committee looking into the possible investigation of Green, with a vote of 8 to 6 with eight abstentions. The Senate also decided to dissolve the committee that was investigating Hall with a vote of 11 to 4 with eight abstentions.
Hall said that his and Green’s dismissal is good news and that he is happy the Senate made the appropriate decision. He said, however, that it is unnecessary for Brickhouse to still be investigated because he was already disciplined for his actions by the executive branch.
A bill relating to the revisions of Title VII – which deals with the Election Code – was vetoed by student body President Garin Flowers. The bill was an attempt to control organized mobile polling stations in the upcoming SG elections.
In the past, mobile polling stations have come under scrutiny, as there aren’t many rules governing these voting sites.
The Senate voted not to overturn the president’s decision in vote of 5 to 16 with three abstentions. Flowers vetoed the bill because he found it too ambiguous and said it needed to be cleared up.