Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faces impeachment Saturday : NPR
AUSTIN, Texas – On Saturday afternoon, Republican state Attorney General Ken Paxton will face an impeachment vote in the Texas House after a Republican-led committee adopted 20 articles of impeachment against him.
The decision from the General Investigation Committee of the House came a day after the panel heard from the investigators which alleged that the attorney general was involved in illegal acts to protect a political donor, among other charges.
“Any politician who supports this fraudulent impeachment attempt will cause lasting damage to the credibility of the Texas House,” Paxton said Friday in front of reporters while calling the impeachment proceedings motivated. politically.
He also appealed to his supporters to gather peacefully at the Capitol building in Austin on Saturday to let their voices be heard.
The House’s allegations against Paxton revolve primarily around Austin real estate investor Nate Paul who made a $25,000 contribution to Paxton’s campaign.
Paul was being investigated by the FBI and investigators hired by the House allege that Paxton tried to use his office to intervene. They say Paxton forced his staff to change a decision on the COVID-19 restrictions to benefit Paul and hired an outside attorney to serve as a special prosecutor and fight federal law enforcement on Paul’s behalf.
Investigators said they concluded there was enough evidence to show Paxton was involved multiple violations of the law and his oath of office, including abuse of official capacity, misuse of official information, and official retaliation and oppression.
The reason for the House investigation stems from Paxton’s office asking the Texas Legislature for $3.3 million going to four of his former employees who were fired in 2020 after they came forward with allegations of wrongdoing. of Paxton related to Nate Paul.
“We cannot overemphasize the fact that, except for Paxton’s own request for a taxpayer-funded settlement of his misconduct, Paxton would not be facing impeachment by the House,” wrote the Republican representative. Andrew Murr, the chairman of the General Chamber. Investigative Committee, in a memo sent to members of the House on Friday.
Democratic State Representative Terry Canales told the Texas News Room that there is enough evidence to commit Paxton.
“I tell you that after hearing the amount of evidence that they heard that we would be derelict in our duty not to do it,” he said.
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The response of the advocate general
In Friday’s press conference, Paxton doubled down on calling the impeachment vote “illegal,” something his chief of litigation, Chris Hilton, told reporters Thursday.
“Any impeachment proposal can only be about conduct from the most recent election. The voters have spoken, they want Ken Paxton,” he said.
But Texas law only says that public officials cannot be impeached “for acts committed before election to office,” and is not specific about which election.
Also in the press conference, Paxton said that the impeachment vote was an attempt to stop his efforts to stop President Biden’s politics in court.
“The House is poised to do exactly what Joe Biden has been hoping to accomplish since his first day in office — sabotage our job, my job, as Attorney General of Texas,” he said.
“There is no other state in this country with so much influence over the destiny of our nation, and that is only because of the relentless challenges I bring against Biden’s unconstitutional political agenda, ” he continued.
In a statement published on his Twitter account Thursday, Paxton said the Texas House was trying to “change” the results of his 2022 re-election.
Paxton was first elected to the Texas attorney general’s office in 2014 and has been re-elected twice since then. The conservative Republican is popular with Republican voters – he handily defeated George P. Bush in the 2022 Republican primary – while remaining controversial inside and outside the Republican Party.
He made a name for himself in the state by prosecuting a record number of Texans with them voter fraud and for his legal opinion defining gender-affirming care as child abuse. His reputation nationally came primarily from his feuds with the federal government, both the Obama and Biden administrations on, for example, immigration, federal spending and abortion medication. He also tried to change the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Shortly after taking office for the first time in 2015, Paxton was charged on securities fraud and has yet to face trial. He is also facing a federal investigation into alleged abuse of office.