Texas AG Ken Paxton Furious After House Panel Recommends Impeachment
A Texas House Ethics Committee has recommended that Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) be removed after a months-long investigation into allegations of abuse of power.
The Republican-led committee unanimously approved the recommendations on Thursday after outside attorneys presented evidence accusing the state’s attorney general of gross improprieties that bordered on criminality, including allegations that Paxton used his position to help a political ally, had engaged in bribes and attempted to obstruct justice. Investigators also said Paxton retaliated against staffers who accused him of crimes, pointing to an ongoing lawsuit brought against him by four former aides.
The recommendations included 20 articles of impeachment.
Texas lawmakers could vote on the issue as early as Friday. If Paxton is impeached in the State House by a simple majority, he would be required to resign temporarily and be barred from office while the state Senate holds a trial on the charges. A two-thirds vote of state senators would be required to approve his impeachment.
Paxton responded with a brief Twitter post after the recommendation was made public, saying, “Election cancellation begins behind closed doors.
He clarified in a statement later that day, lambasting the investigation as an “illegitimate attempt to subvert the will of the people”.
“Four liberal lawyers presented a report to the House General Investigative Committee based on hearsay and gossip, repeating claims long refuted,” he said. said. “By attacking the Attorney General’s office, corrupt Texas House politicians, led by liberal Speaker Dade Phelan, are actively destroying Texas’ position as the strongest backer against Biden’s agenda nationwide.”
Impeachment is extremely rare in Texas. Only two officials have been impeached and removed from office in the state’s history, and the last was nearly 50 years ago, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Whatever happens, this week’s developments present a major threat to one of Texas’ most powerful Republicans and will force lawmakers to heed years of scandals and claims surrounding his office.
The investigation began in March amid a settlement reached with former Paxton staffers for $3.3 million. The attorney general asked the Texas Legislature to fund the deal, but lawmakers, including Phelan, a Republican, said he did not provide enough explanation about why the state should foot the bill.
Paxton had launched a tirade against Phelan in recent days, accusing the president of being drunk during a House session last week.
The attorney general has maintained voter support for years despite ongoing ethical and legal scandals and was easily reelected last November to a third term. He was charged with federal securities fraud in 2015, though that case has yet to go to trial. He was also investigated for corruption allegations in 2017 before being cleared of those charges.
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