Ken Paxton takes aim at impeachment recommendation
A Texas House committee voted unanimously Thursday to bring articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton, about a day after the same panel heard from investigators who accused the top-ranking attorney of the state of years of misconduct.
Paxton, who was elected to his third term as attorney general last November, has had a history of scandals since taking office, including facing a whistleblower lawsuit in 2020 that he abused his position to helping his friend and political donor, Nate Paul. The four former deputies in Paxton’s office reached a $3.3 million settlement with the attorney general in February, but the payment sparked a Texas House General Investigating Committee investigation a month later.
On Wednesday, investigators spoke publicly before the Investigative Committee accusing Paxton of committing multiple crimes, including felonies, in order to help Paul, an Austin, Texas-based real estate investor. The five-person bipartisan panel voted a day later to bring articles of impeachment against Paxton regarding the investigators’ claims.
Paxton, who has previously denied the whistleblower charges, wrote in a statement Thursday that the committee’s investigation was “based on hearsay and gossip” and was led by “corrupt Texas House politicians”, specifically naming House Speaker and Republican Dade Phelan.
“It was only a few months ago that Texans went to the polls and made a choice,” read Paxton’s statement, which was shared on Twitter. “They made their choice in a primary where more than 1.6 million Texans voted. They made that choice again when more than 8 million people voted in the general election.”
“Today, (the General Investigative Committee) asked the Texas House of Representatives to use its unsubstantiated report to overturn the results of a free and fair election,” Paxton continued.
According to a report from Texas Grandstand, Chris Hilton, chief general counsel in Paxton’s office, demanded Thursday to testify before the House General Investigative Committee, calling the committee’s actions “unlawful.” Murr reportedly shook his head at Hilton’s interruption and continued with the meeting.
“It was filled with lies and misrepresentations, and they never contacted our office to determine if anything contained in that testimony yesterday was remotely true,” Hilton told reporters following the committee’s recommendation, according to a video shared by the KXAN reporter. ryan chandler.
“The process here is completely lacking,” Hilton continued. “They deserve to hear, people deserve to hear from this office and the background to this investigation.”
Paxton also argued in his statement that the committee’s “attack” on his office was “actively destroying Texas’ position as the strongest backer against Biden’s agenda in the entire country.”
“The RINOs in the Texas Legislative Assembly are now on the same side as (President) Joe Biden, (Department of Homeland Security Secretary) Alejandro Mayorkas and (New York Senator) Chuck Schumer, collaborating to bind us hands and make Texas less powerful and effective in the fight for the nation’s future,” the attorney general’s statement read.
The state’s top attorney has a long history of public clashes with the Biden administration, including repeatedly suing the president over his immigration policies and federal spending plans.
Impeachments could be filed in Texas House as early as Friday. If the articles pass, Paxton would be immediately removed from office while an impeachment trial unfolds in the state Senate.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott could appoint a temporary replacement for Paxton if impeached. Abbott has yet to address the investigation against Paxton or the General Investigation Committee’s impeachment recommendation on Thursday, and the Grandstand reported that he and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick declined requests for comment on the committee’s allegations.
Newsweek contacted Abbott’s office by email for comment Thursday evening.