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House committee to investigate Gregg Phillips

This is a good start.

The head of a state House investigating committee said Monday he will look into allegations of cronyism involving contracting at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission.

“This is something we need to look into,” said Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, chairman of the House General Investigating Committee.


Bailey said he has asked his staff to review the Chronicle stories to see if a full investigation is warranted. Bailey said he also will ask for cooperation from the state auditor’s office as well as Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle in looking into contracting at HHSC and TWC.

Bailey said the Chronicle’s stories looked similar to a state auditor’s finding last year that HHSC overpaid a vendor for a rural Children’s Health Insurance Program by $20 million.

More than a fourth of that money went to a subcontractor with no employees and two consultants.

“It appears to be business as usual over there (at HHSC),” Bailey said.

State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, a member of the budget-writing appropriations committee, said he asked Bailey to initiate the review.

“The general investigating committee should look at this and report to the Legislature to open our eyes, especially if there is going to be more privatization of state business,” Eiland said.

Eiland said he was surprised at how many people involved in state contracts with Phillips and Temple had Mississippi ties.

“All their friends seem to be from Mississippi. At least they could get some friends here in Texas,” Eiland said.

I hope this goes somewhere. I strongly suspect there’s still more to it than what we’ve seen so far.

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