The Paradise Papers could be the biggest tax avoidance news story of the century. But its not just Washington politicians and Wall Street bankers wrapped up in the story. Texas Tech along with UT and TCU are also involved at some level.

The Paradise Papers is an enormous leak of legal documents by the Appleby firm, a type of legal firm based in Bermuda. It handles lots of offshore account paperwork for what appears to be thousands of corporations, politicians, businesses, and apparently universities.

While we still don't know the full extent of any tax evasion legalities, or possible criminal activity that could be revealed in the millions of released documents, we do have hundreds of names of people and institutions who have in the past or are currently invested using offshore accounts.

Why does this matter, you ask? It matters because of the potential for illegal tax evasion being done on such a large scale that billions and billions of dollars may have gone unreported and therefore were not taxed.

And it matters locally because Texas Tech is involved in an investment that is somehow tied to some of this. Now I don't have any proof that Texas Tech has done anything illegal or unethical, and I'm not claiming that they have. But in the NY Times article specifically concerning American universities using offshore investment accounts, Texas Tech is one of ten investment partners in an offshore firm known as:

This in and of itself may not be illegal, and many might even say that Texas Tech using tax free investments is a good thing to bolster our university's endowments for the school. And while none of want to pay taxes, they are what actually fund much of Texas Tech's operations. It is a public university. So to say that in the least this might not look good ethically, is just a start.

But what this might reveal also is that many universities are partnering in controversial companies and investments that the students and school donors may or may not find appropriate. With the sea change in large student groups hoping for green investing by their schools, the revelation that the schools are secretly still bolstered by fossil fuel companies, and ones that operate on the fringe of American tax law, may cause an upheaval by those most heavily invested in the school, the students.

I 'd like to reiterate again that this information doesn't mean that Texas Tech is involved with breaking any laws, or avoiding taxes. But while the investigation continues over the billions of dollars in offshore accounts that was being hidden by lots of American politicians, businesses and corporations, Texas Tech's name is on the Appleby papers, and there will be extra scrutiny over their investments in the coming months and possibly years. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that our school comes out of this with clean hands.

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