Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka has some explanation on his blog that hasn’t appeared elsewhere about the resignation of Rowling, the chairman of UT’s investment organization, UTIMCO.
UTIMCO’s executive officer Zimmerman received bonus pay last year that was related to his contract based on the performance of UT’s fund in relation to other similar funds. The Senate Finance Committee members sharply questioned the fund’s employee bonuses. The questioning reached a point where Rowling considered that the committee was unjustly attacking Zimmerman. Rowling, whose position as chair was a volunteer one, abruptly resigned during his testimony to the committee and walked out.
After a presentation of some figures from former UT regent Charles Miller, defending UTIMCO’s performance, Burka concludes:
“Another way to look at this is that for every dollar paid out in bonuses, UTIMCO earned $133 million. Even the most ranting, raving populist can hardly complain about this rate of return—much less the governor and lieutenant governor.”
The possible beginning of this whole brouhaha was a letter to the Finance Committee from Gov. 39% and Dewhurst, pointing out the bonuses. New House Speaker Straus was not involved. It is speculated that Perry and Dewhurst wanted to put Rowling in a position to be attacked because he had switched his allegiance in the gubernatorial race FROM Perry TO Hutchison.
Burka observes about Perry and Dewhurst having “their fun at Mr. Rowling’s expense,” they will find out that “It isn’t smart to ambush billionaires.” He points out that Rowling was a volunteer contributing time and money on behalf of UT.
Burka’s conclusion about how this incident affects the balance in the upcoming 2010 contest:
“I think that Rick Perry will have a harder time raising money in certain circles–say, the Dallas and Houston ultra wealthy–and I think that he will lose stature. . . . Perry appointees who switched to Hutchison will redouble their efforts to see that she is elected. As for Dewhurst, who played his part in laying this ambush, he doesn’t have a lot of friends among the big donor crowd, and Rowling was one. Was. . . . Sure, he’s cozying up to Perry in the hope that Perry will appoint him to the Senate vacancy. Here’s what I think: There isn’t going to be any Senate vacancy. . . . She will resign her Senate seat effective at the ‘So help me God’ of the oath of office. And she’s not going to appoint anybody who endorsed Rick Perry against her, ever.”