A Texas House committee accused Ken Paxton of some serious misconduct. Now it wants the Trump-backed attorney general impeached.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could soon be out of a job after being accused of several crimes.
The Texas House will vote on an impeachment resolution on Saturday.
If it passes, Paxton will immediately be suspended from office and could eventually be impeached.
After years of investigations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will face impeachment vote on Saturday.
A Republican-led investigation in the Texas House on Wednesday accused the scandal-prone attorney general with close ties to former President Donald Trump and Governor Greg Abbott of breaking multiple laws while in office.
On Thursday, the committee investigating him filed 20 articles of impeachment, including allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice, false statements in official records, and unfitness for office.
Paxton has vehemently denied the allegations and the move to impeach him as an "illegal impeachment scheme."
"They have denied me the opportunity to present the evidence which contradicts their politically motivated narrative," Paxton said during a press conference Friday.
Representatives for Paxton did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
'Paxton and crooked are synonymous'
Paxton has been facing a criminal indictment and multiple investigations since being sworn into the attorney general's office in 2015. Olivia Julianna, a Texas-based activist and political strategist who Paxton once blocked on Twitter, told Insider that in Texas "Ken Paxton and crooked are synonymous."
Paxton blocked the activist, who publicly criticized him for his FBI investigation, after agreeing to stop blocking critics as part of a First Amendment lawsuit.
"He's always been shrouded in some kind of criminal conspiracy or criminal controversy," Julianna told Insider. "So it's not surprising in the slightest that we've gotten to this point now where he's starting to feel the flames on his feet, because the higher they are, the harder they fall."
—Olivia Julianna 🗳 (@0liviajulianna) May 25, 2023
A letter and an FBI investigation
In 2020, members of Paxton's staff reported their boss to the FBI in a letter that was later obtained and published by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. In the letter, staff members alleged that Paxton might have committed serious crimes, including bribery, to help friend and political donor Nate Paul after the FBI raided Paul's home in 2019. Investigators did not publicly disclose the reason for the raid.
Following the raid, Paxton made unusual steps to investigate the FBI on behalf of Paul, who accused the bureau of mistreating him, by using an outside attorney.
There were also other allegations that Paxton had used his power to benefit Paul in his real estate dealings, and that Paul had hired a woman Paxton had an extramarital affair with as a favor. Paxton and Paul also denied these allegations.
The letter led to an ongoing FBI investigation in the attorney general's use of his office. Paxton later fired some of the whistleblowers who wrote the letter, which led to a lawsuit by said staffers that was settled in February.
A lawsuit settlement with taxpayer funds
Paxton owed four former staffers $3.3 million as part of the settlement and implored the Texas House Appropriations subcommittee in February to increase the budget for the attorney general's office to pay off the settlement. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan was vocally opposed, calling it an improper use of taxpayer dollars.
Phelan then helped lead a House Investigation into the allegations against Paxton due to the funding request, a spokesperson told The New York Times.
Then on Wednesday, they presented their findings — a day after Paxton called for Phelan's resignation after accusing him of being drunk on the floor of the House.
In a Friday announcement of the impeachment resolution vote, set for Saturday, Phelan noted that the investigation would not have happened "but for Paxton's own request for a taxpayer-funded settlement over his wrongful conduct."
Julianna told Insider that she believes that the moves from House Republicans to impeach Paxton is more about political strategy than holding him accountable as the Texas Republican party begins to experience a split.
"I think it's that Ken Paxton antagonized the wrong people knowing that he had a lot of skeletons in his closet," Julianna said.
On Saturday, Paxton will face a vote on the impeachment resolution. He will immediately be suspended from office if it passes while the Senate deliberates his fate.
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