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GOP Texas AG Ken Paxton impeached, facing removal by Texas Senate

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 29, 2023

In a historic vote, the Texas House of Representatives passed an impeachment resolution against Attorney General Ken Paxton last Saturday.

This significant move comes from an inquiry into corruption charges leveled against the Attorney General. Following the overwhelmingly affirmative vote of 121-23, Paxton has been temporarily relieved of his duties pending a Senate trial, the Daily Wire reported.

The Attorney General now faces 20 articles of impeachment, citing a range of transgressions. These include purported breaches of the state's whistleblower law and contravention of the Securities Act, among other actions.

A particularly noteworthy charge is Paxton's alleged misuse of public funds to settle a case against him.

Paxton's Historic Impeachment: Third in Texas History

Paxton is only the "third state official in Texas history to be impeached". Previous instances included a governor in 1917 and a judge in 1975, Axios reported.

Republican Rep. David Spiller, a House General Investigating Committee member, acknowledged to his fellow members that while he believes Paxton possesses a "brilliant legal mind," he still violated the law.

"He put the interest of himself above the laws of the state of Texas," Spiller said. "He put the interest of himself over his staff, who tried to advise him on multiple occasions that he was about to violate the law," NPR reported. 

Paxton Responds To Impeachment

Following the unexpected impeachment, Paxton took to social media to voice his opinion. 

He tweeted, "The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just. It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning."

Paxton has asserted that he was not allowed to present his testimony before the House General Investigating Committee.

However, Rep. Ann Johnson, a Democrat and a member of the investigating committee, countered Paxton's claim. She stated that Paxton had already articulated his side of the story through a document published on his website, responding to the allegations.

The impeachment resolution now proceeds to the Texas Senate, which assumes the responsibility of arranging a trial and determining the attorney general's conviction.

Probing Paxton's Case: The $3.3M Public Funds Controversy

In an interesting development on Tuesday, revelations emerged about the state House Committee on General Investigating's inquiry into Paxton's attempts to settle a 2020 lawsuit. 

The investigation is centered around an alleged $3.3 million in public funds, which Paxton reportedly intended to use for the settlement.

As part of its ongoing investigation, the committee has issued a subpoena for records from Paxton's office.

The 2020 Lawsuit and the Whistleblower Controversy

The 2020 lawsuit in question was brought forward by four ex-employees of the attorney general's office. They claim to have faced retaliation after accusing Paxton of corruption. 

As the state legislature declined to provide funding for the settlement, the case remains in progress within the courts.