HomePoliticsTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton furious after House Panel recommends impeachment

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton furious after House Panel recommends impeachment

A Texas House ethics panel recommended impeaching Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) after a months-long investigation into alleged abuse of office.

The Republican-led committee unanimously approved the recommendations Thursday after outside lawyers presented evidence accusing the attorney general of sweeping impropriety that bordered on criminality, including claims that Paxton had used his position to aid a political ally. engaged in bribery 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 include 20 articles of impeachment.

Texas lawmakers could vote on the issue as early as Friday. If Paxton is impeached by a simple majority in the state House, he will have to step down temporarily and be barred from performing his duties while the Senate holds a trial on the allegations. A two-thirds majority of senators would be needed to approve his removal from office.

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Paxton responded with a short message on Twitter after the recommendation was made public, saying, “Toppling elections begins behind closed doors.”

He elaborated in a statement later in the day, denouncing the investigation as an “unlawful attempt to overthrow the will of the people”.

“Four liberal lawyers have submitted a report to the House General Inquiry Committee based on rumor and gossip, parroting long-disproved claims,” he said. said. “By attacking the Attorney General’s office, corrupt politicians in the Texas House, led by Liberal Speaker Dade Phelan, are actively destroying Texas’ position as the most powerful backstop against the Biden agenda in the entire country.”

Impeachment is exceedingly rare in Texas. Only two officials have ever been impeached and removed from office in the state’s history, according to The Dallas Morning News, and the last was nearly 50 years ago.

Whatever happens, this week’s developments pose a major threat to one of Texas’ most powerful Republicans and will force lawmakers to reckon with years of scandals and claims surrounding his office.

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The investigation began in March amid a settlement 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 didn’t provide enough explanation as to why the state should foot the bill.

Paxton had been ranting at Phelan in recent days, accusing the speaker of being drunk at a House session last week.

The attorney general has maintained voter support for years despite ongoing ethics and legal scandals, handily winning re-election to a third term last November. He was indicted in 2015 on federal securities fraud charges, though that case has yet to go to trial. He was also investigated on bribery charges in 2017 before being cleared of those charges.


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