Impeachment Vote Set for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: What to Know

The Republican-dominated Texas House is scheduled to vote on the impeachment of the state’s Republican Attorney General, Ken Paxton, on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The vote was scheduled to come just two days after the bipartisan but Republican-led House of Representatives committee. Recommend that Mr. Paxton be impeached. for a range of abuses which may constitute offences.

Mr. Paxton has denied wrongdoing, as he has done many times before. The attorney general has been dealing with various legal challenges over the years, including several investigations with political implications.

Here’s what to know.

Before becoming Attorney General in 2015, Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr. worked as a lawyer and state legislator, serving in both the State House and Senate. His wife, Angela Paxton, became a political force herself and won a seat in the state Senate in 2018.

As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Paxton has styled himself as a champion of the social issues that drive Texas conservatives, effectively becoming the state’s chief culture war litigator. gone. His hard-charging style has alienated some Republican allies, even as voters have remained loyal.

Mr. Paxton has closely associated himself with and endorsed former President Donald J. Trump, and has used his office. Challenge the results of the 2020 election. He has also faced repeated legal challenges to the Biden administration’s actions, and has been among the most vocal in efforts by Republican-led states to challenge the president’s efforts to ease some restrictions on immigration at the US southern border. has been ahead.

Voters re-elected Mr. Paxton to a third term in November by a wide margin.

In 2020, several senior members of Mr. Paxton’s staff Wrote a letter Insist on investigating your boss’s actions. Aides accused Mr. Paxton of using his office to further the interests of NetPaul, a friend of the attorney general and a political donor.

Mr. Paul, a wealthy Austin real estate investor, contacted Mr. Paxton after federal agents raided his home and offices in 2019. The FBI’s actions included hiring an outside counsel who described himself as a special prosecutor, even though House committee investigators said he had no prosecutorial experience. FBI officials have not commented on their investigation.

At the time, Mr. Paxton said in a statement that he was “never motivated by a desire to protect a political donor or to abuse this position, nor would I ever be.”

In their 2020 letter, Mr. Paxton’s aides said he had committed bribery, abuse of office and other “potential criminal offenses.” Four aides also brought their concerns to the FBI and Texas Rangers.

According to legal filings in the case, the four aides also informed the attorney general’s office of their concerns. Several weeks later, they were all fired. The aides then sued Mr. Paxton, alleging retaliation against them.

As the case progressed, Mr. Paxton’s office presented. A 374-page report Which concluded, “AG Paxton committed no crime.” He has also challenged this case, but… A Texas appeals court ruled against them.. In February, Mr. Paxton Agreed to pay $3.3 million. In a settlement with four former senior aides.

Questions about the settlement payment prompted further investigation into the 2020 allegations.

Mr. Paxton asked the Texas Legislature to pay $3.3 million. Ded Fallon, the Republican House speaker, who is seen as a traditional conservative, did not support this use of state money. A spokesman for Mr Phelan said a House inquiry into the allegations had been launched to gather information about the funding request.

Many of the investigators’ findings about Mr. Paxton were already publicly known, from allegations in the aides’ trial. But a House committee vote on Thursday provided the first official ruling on the allegations: They were, lawmakers said, enough to start the process of removing Mr. Paxton from office.

Filed by the committee. 20 Articles of Impeachment Thursday against Mr. Paxton. As they were being handed around the House chamber, committee chairman Andrew Murr, a Republican, said they described “serious crimes.”

The articles accuse Mr. Paxton of misconduct, including accepting bribes, neglecting his official duty, obstructing justice in a separate securities fraud case pending against him, making false statements on official documents and reports, and violating the public trust. Charges have been laid.

The committee said Mr. Paxton used his office in various ways to benefit Mr. Paul, and then fired those in the office who spoke out against his actions.

The articles also accuse Mr. Paxton of “benefiting a woman with whom Mr. Paxton had an extramarital affair through NetPaul’s employment” and against Mr. Paul’s companies, the Roy F. and Joan Cole Mitt Foundation. Alleged interference in the case filed by An Austin nonprofit group.

A federal investigation that began as a result of aides’ complaints about corruption and retaliation has yet to produce any charges.

But Mr. Paxton has been dogged by criminal charges for much of his tenure as the state’s attorney general.

In 2015, his first year in office, Mr. Paxton was charged with related crimes. Securities fraud and booked into the county jail outside Dallas. The charges began with allegations that Mr. Paxton misled investors and clients — for example, failing to tell investors he would make commissions on their investments — before he became attorney general. Worked in securities over the years.

He has denied wrongdoing in the case, which is still pending.

Articles of impeachment this week accused the attorney general of obstruction of justice in the case, alleging that a lawsuit, filed by a donor to Mr. Paxton’s campaign, effectively delayed the hearing.

The chairman of the committee investigating Mr Paxton said he planned to put a resolution of impeachment to the House for a vote at 1pm on Saturday.

Impeachment would mean Mr. Paxton would be temporarily removed from office pending a trial on the charges in the state Senate, where some of his closest allies, including his wife, will serve as judges. Senate action may be delayed after the regular legislative session ends Monday. The Senate may later call a special session to hear the case, though the timing is highly uncertain.

Christopher Hilton, a lawyer in Mr. Paxton’s office, has said that the committee’s process in issuing the articles of impeachment was “grossly deficient” and that the issues raised were fully addressed during Mr. Paxton’s successful re-election campaign last year. were broadcast on .

In what appears to be a preview of a possible legal challenge to the action, Mr. Hilton also said Texas law only allows impeachment for conduct since the last election. Most of the charges in articles of impeachment involve conduct that occurred before.

Reporting was contributed by Manny Fernandez, Mary Jordan, Edgar Sandoval And Stop Rojas.

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