Eric Johnson, Texas Representative
|Texas House of Representatives, District 100|
|2011 - Present|
|January 13, 2015|
|Years in position||3|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 6, 2012|
|First elected||November 6, 2012|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Committee assignments
- 3 Issues
- 4 Elections
- 5 Campaign donors
- 6 Scorecards
- 7 Personal
- 8 Recent news
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Johnson’s formal education began at Sudie Williams Elementary and C.F. Carr Elementary in the Dallas Independent School District. In the second grade, he was awarded a generous scholarship to attend Greenhill School, from which he graduated in 1994. Johnson went on to attend Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in History in 1998. He then went on to earn a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University in 2003.
At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Johnson served on the following committees:
|Texas Committee Assignments, 2013|
|• General Investigating & Ethics, Vice-chair|
|• Natural Resources, Vice-chair|
|• Transparency in State Agency Operations (Select)|
|• Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency|
During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Johnson served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:
|Texas Committee Assignments, 2011|
|• Higher Education|
University of Texas investigations
- See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial
After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals. Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed. According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden. However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages. In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."
An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as Regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment under the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list. The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials. No unelected official has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office. Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees. He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater." Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.
Richard Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, criticized the impeachment process in a November interview with the Austin American-Statesman. He called the impeachment process the "nuclear option" and said it could send a chilling signal to other members of higher education boards. Legon suggested that the board should have first been given the opportunity to address Hall's requests. "It’s fine for a board member to seek information through the appropriate path. The first layer of reining in an overly aggressive board member should be the board," he said.
A January 2014 review by the law firm Hilder & Associates concluded that there was "no credible evidence of a violation of [the state government code] that would warrant a referral for criminal prosecution." The report concluded that Hall had a legitimate reason for having the documents in question. "In light of the fundamental role attorneys play, it would lead to an absurd result were it criminal for an official to provide student records to his or her attorney in the face of litigation, or anticipated litigation, involving these records," Philip Hilder wrote in the report. Hilder submitted the report to the legislative committee. The Board of Regents hired the firm to review whether Hall may have violated any federal privacy laws in his handling of student information. November 2013 testimony prompted committee-member Trey Fischer to request the inquiry. Committee member Dan Flynn said he was not surprised by the findings and was pleased the university counsel reached a conclusion.
Committee on transparency activity
Johnson is one of the eight members of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, which is overseeing the investigation into a possible impeachment. The committee was formed in 2013, specifically existing to explore the possibility of impeaching Hall. The committee is holding hearings in late 2013 to hear testimony from individuals from the university system.
- Did Hall fail to disclose material information on his application to be a regent?
- Did he reveal information about students that violated their privacy?
- Did he exceed his role as a regent in requesting massive amounts of information from UT-Austin?
Request for personal computers
In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.
Subpoena of Hall
At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting. With no subpoena having yet been issued to Hall, his lawyers sent a letter to the committee asking for clarification. With Francisco Cigarroa and Bill Powers already subpoenaed, Hall's lawyer Allan Van Fleet requested that the committee respond regarding whether it would also subpoena Hall. He said that Hall's lawyers have told him not to appear before the committee without a subpoena. On December 5, 2013, Van Fleet sent a letter to the committee requesting that the co-chairs announce whether Hall would indeed be subpoenaed. Van Fleet's request asked for an answer by the end of the day. In response, committee attorney Rusty Hardin said "We're not going to adhere to his deadline. He doesn't get to pick the time and place." Van Fleet pointed out that providing two weeks' notice for testimony is the standard to allow individuals to prepare testimony. He added that the letter has "caused confusion about the committee's intentions."
On December 10, 2013, the committee sent a letter to Hall asking that he testify -- but they did not issue a subpoena. The committee sent a one-page, two-paragraph letter that invited Hall to testify and provide a list of witnesses. On December 16, 2013, Hall's attorney Allan Van Fleet said Hall would not testify at the December 18 committee hearing. Van Fleet wrote: "Regent Hall has volunteered a number of times in the past to share his views with legislative Committees about the challenges and opportunities faced by the UT System. Though these offers have never been accepted, he remains interested in sharing his views, in collaborating with all policy makers on initiatives that will benefit the UT System, and in working with the committees to improve the transparency and accountability practices that should guide all UT System activities."
Hall was invited to testify but was not given a subpoena, which is often perceived to provide some legal protection to the witness. Other individuals -- such as Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas Austin President Bill Powers -- were given formal subpoenas. Legislators criticized Hall for not agreeing to testify, despite the differing set of circumstances given to Hall. "It’s very disappointing to me that he and his attorney do not understand or do not care to observes the rules and procedures of the Texas House of Representatives and have decided they are not going to appear to testify," said co-chair Dan Flynn. Committee member Charles Perry noted that while all individuals who testified were given an official subpoena, Hall himself was not granted one. In fact, it was more directly avoided by the committee, after it first sent him a subpoena only to withdraw it. A subpoena would have insulated individuals from risk in violating FERPA.
Empower Texans response
In December 2013, the nonprofit organization Empower Texans sent a mailer criticizing committee chair Carol Alvarado. The mailer stated that lawmakers improperly focused on Hall's behavior, rather than investigating the allegations of clout at the University of Texas, Austin. Alvarado called the mailer the action of "an outside group that’s trying to influence an investigation." Empower Texans president Michael Quinn Sullivan said the legislature was engaging in a "whitewashing" of potential university wrongdoings. "We're impeaching someone for asking questions," he said.
Johnson's website highlights the following campaign themes:
- Excerpt:"Eric is committed to ensuring that every child in District 100 receives a quality education and has the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Currently, nearly 30% of District 100 residents between the ages of sixteen and nineteen are high school dropouts, and just 10% of District 100 residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to a state average of 23%. Eric will work tirelessly in Austin to ensure that our public schools are equipped to meet the needs of every student in District 100. He will also work to make higher education more affordable for District 100's working families that have faced skyrocketing tuition and fees at Texas public universities and colleges in the past several years."
- Excerpt:"Eric is dedicated to promoting economic development in District 100, where the per capita annual income lags behind the statewide average by almost $7,000. He will strive to create more well-paying jobs for residents of District 100. Eric will pursue policies in the Texas House and also reach out to entrepreneurs and businesses owners to encourage the establishment and growth of businesses in District 100 which will bring more jobs to the community. He will also work to ensure that the Texas Workforce Commission best serves the needs of District 100 residents as they search for employment as well as job training and career development programs."
Crime and Public Safety
- Excerpt:"Eric will work in Austin and with members of the community to address the drug and crime issues that have dogged District 100 for years and threaten the safety and quality of life of its residents. He wants to ensure that there are enough highly trained law enforcement personnel that are in touch with the needs of District 100 neighborhoods and also that there are well funded after school programs to keep youth off the streets with positive and enriching alternatives to drugs, gang membership, and crime. Eric also understands that a careful approach must be taken to criminal justice with greater emphasis placed on rehabilitation for minor drug possession offenses both in order to reduce the number of repeat offenders and to assist these individuals in becoming productive, contributing members of our community. "
Elections for the office of Texas House of Representatives will consist of a primary election on March 4, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was December 9, 2013. Incumbent Eric Johnson was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Johnson will face Brian Chapman (L) in the general election.
Johnson ran in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 100. The primary election took place on May 29, 2012 and he was unchallenged in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.
Johnson won election in District 100. He defeated then-incumbent Terri Hodge, who subsequently resigned, in the March 2 Democratic primary and faced no opposition in the November 2 general election.
| Texas House of Representatives, District 100 |
2010 General election results
|Eric Johnson (D)||14,469||100%|
Comprehensive donor information for Johnson is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Johnson raised a total of $671,563 during that time period. This information was last updated on August 15, 2013.
|Eric Johnson's Campaign Contribution History|
|2012||Texas State House, District 100||$220,728|
|2010||Texas State House, District 100||$450,835|
|Grand Total Raised||$671,563|
2012Johnson won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Johnson raised a total of $220,728.
|Texas House of Representatives 2012 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Eric Johnson's campaign in 2012|
|Crow, Harlan R||$15,000|
|Total Raised in 2012||$220,728|
|Source:Follow the Money|
2010Johnson won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Johnson raised a total of $450,835.
|Texas House of Representatives 2010 election - Campaign Contributions|
|Top contributors to Eric Johnson's campaign in 2010|
|Crow, Harlan R||$20,000|
|Si Se Puede PAC||$11,101|
|Perry, Bob J||$10,000|
|Total Raised in 2010||$450,835|
|Source:Follow the Money|
Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index
Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy." Legislators were graded along a 0 through 100 scale in 2013 and on an A through F grading scale in 2011.
Johnson received a score of 18 in the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Eric Johnson received a grade of F on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Johnson has a wife, Nakita.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Eric + Johnson + Texas + House"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Official campaign website
- Texas House of Representatives - Rep. Johnson
- Profile from Open States
- Biography from Project Vote Smart
- Legislative profile from Project Vote Smart
- Texas Political Almanac HD 100 page
- Texas Tribune profile & bio
- State Surge profile
- Eric Johnson on Facebook
- Eric Johnson on Twitter
- Campaign Contributions: 2012, 2010
- American Spectator "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
- Daily Texas Online "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
- Daily Texas Online "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
- Dallas Morning News "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
- Watchdog "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
- Texas Tribune "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
- Texas Tribune "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
- Texas Tribune "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
- Real Clear Policy "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
- Watchdog.org "Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof," September 6, 2013
- News-Journal "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
- Texas Public Radio "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
- Austin American Statesman "A UT regent impeachment could make other boards cautious, expert says," November 29, 2013
- Dallas Morning News "UT Regent Hall didn't commit crime, university attorney concludes,"January 16, 2014
- Watchdog "UT Report: Charge against Hall is legally 'absurd'" January 14, 2014
- Texas Tribune "Report: Regent Didn't Violate Student Privacy Laws," January 15, 2014
- Texas Tribune Uploads "Hilder & Associates Report," January 13, 2014
- Texas State House Committees "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," accessed October 31, 2013
- Texas Monthly "Regent Wallace Hall is Another Step Closer to Impeachment," September 17, 2013
- Austin American Statesman "Transparency panel begins investigation of UT regent with closed-door session," September 16, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
- San Francisco Chronicle "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
- Texas Tribune "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
- Austin American Statesman "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Ahead of Hearings, UT Regent Hall Requests Subpoena," December 5, 2013
- Texas Tribune "Committee Letter to Hall," December 10, 2013
- My San Antonio "Letter to Committee," December 16, 2013
- The Republic "Embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall won't testify to lawmakers considering possible impeachment," December 17, 2013
- Your Houston News "UT regent facing possible ouster won’t testify," December 17, 2013
- Texas Tribune "UT Regent Hall Declines Invitation to Testify," December 17, 2013
- News Journal "Lawmaker: Regent’s silence ’slap in face’" December 19, 2013
- Dallas Morning News "UT regent Wallace Hall won’t attend impeachment investigation," December 17, 2013
- Texas Public Radio "UT Regent Wallace Hall Declines to Speak with Lawmakers," December 16, 2013
- Watchdog "Chancellor is probing favoritism in UT admissions," December 19, 2013
- Houston Chronicle "Empower Texans mailer criticizes Hall impeachment panel," December 19, 2013
- My San Antonio "Clout Mailer from Empower Texans," December 19, 2013
- johnsonfortexas.com, "Issues," accessed February 13, 2014
- Texas Secretary of State, "2014 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County", accessed March 4, 2014
- Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Democratic Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
- Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Republican Party Primary Election," accessed April 9, 2014
- Texas Democratic Party - Democratic Primary Candidates
- Official Texas Election Results
- Follow the Money, "Johnson, Eric," accessed August 15, 2013
- Empower Texans, "Fiscal Responsibility Index," accessed February 22, 2014
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