Texas lawmakers want to indict Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is testifying before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee just days before a grand jury will indict him on three felonies. Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may soon be out of a job after being accused of multiple crimes. The Texas House of Representatives will vote on an impeachment resolution on Saturday. If passed, Paxton will be immediately suspended from office and could eventually face impeachment.
After years of investigation, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faces impeachment on Saturday.
A Republican-led investigation into the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday accused the scandalous attorney general, with close ties to former President Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott, of violating multiple laws during his tenure.
On Thursday, the investigating committee filed 20 charges against him, including allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice, misrepresentation in official records and incapacity.
Paxton has vehemently denied the allegations and the attempt to impeach him as an “illegal impeachment trial”.
“They have denied me the opportunity to present evidence that contradicts their politically motivated narrative,” Paxton said during a news conference on Friday.
Paxton officials did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“Paxton and crooked are synonyms”
Paxton has faced one criminal indictment and multiple investigations since being sworn into the Attorney General’s office in 2015. Olivia Julianna, a Texas-based activist and political strategist who once blocked Paxton on Twitter, told Insider that in Texas, “Ken Paxton and scammers” are synonymous.”
Paxton blocked the activist who publicly criticized him for his FBI investigation after agreeing to stop blocking critics as part of a First Amendment lawsuit.
“He’s always been involved in some kind of criminal conspiracy or criminal controversy,” Julianna told Insider. “So it’s not the least bit surprising that we’ve gotten to a point where he’s starting to feel the flames on his feet, because the higher they go, the harder they fall.”
A letter and an FBI investigation
In 2020, Paxton employees reported their boss to the FBI in a letter later obtained and released by Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. In the letter, associates alleged that Paxton may have committed serious crimes, including bribery, to help his friend and political donor, Nate Paul, after the FBI raided Paul’s home in 2019. Investigators did not publicly disclose the reason for the raid.
After the raid, Paxton took unusual steps to investigate the FBI on behalf of Paul, who accused the FBI of abusing him by hiring an outside attorney.
There were also other allegations that Paxton used his power to favor Paul in his real estate deals and that as a favor Paul hired a woman with whom Paxton was having an extramarital affair. Paxton and Paul also denied these allegations.
The letter led to an ongoing FBI investigation into the Attorney General’s use of his office. Paxton later fired some of the whistleblowers who wrote the letter, leading to a lawsuit by those employees that was settled in February.
A dispute settlement with taxpayers’ money
Paxton owed four former employees $3.3 million as part of the settlement and in February pleaded with the Texas House budget subcommittee to increase the budget for the attorney general’s office to settle the settlement. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has vocally opposed this, calling it a misuse of taxpayers’ money.
Phelan then helped lead a House investigation into allegations against Paxton over the funding request, a spokesman told the New York Times.
They then presented their findings on Wednesday – a day after Paxton called for Phelan’s resignation after accusing him of being drunk on the House floor.
In a Friday announcement of Saturday’s impeachment vote, Phelan noted that the inquest would not have taken place “without Paxton’s own bid for a taxpayer-funded settlement of his misconduct.”
Julianna told Insider that she believes moves by House Republicans to impeach Paxton are more about political strategy than holding him accountable as the Texas Republican Party begins to experience a split.
“I think it’s because Ken Paxton pissed off the wrong people because he knew he had a lot of skeletons in his closet,” Julianna said.
Paxton will vote on the impeachment resolution on Saturday. He will be immediately suspended from office if it passes while the Senate deliberates on his fate.
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