Impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton: A Political Showdown
On May 27, the Texas House made a decisive vote of 121–23 to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton. This move sparked a fierce debate, with Paxton’s allies across the country claiming it to be a political assassination by politicians who oppose his conservative stances. However, his opponents argue that the evidence against him is significant. Amidst this back-and-forth, the actual allegations against Paxton often get overshadowed.
The Allegations: Bribery, Obstruction of Justice, and Misappropriation of Public Resources
Paxton faces impeachment over serious accusations, including bribery, obstruction of justice, and misappropriation of public resources. These allegations primarily stem from whistleblower claims of misconduct during an investigation involving one of Paxton’s friends and political donors.
In 2020, seven whistleblowers bravely came forward to the FBI, alleging wrongdoing by Paxton in an investigation into Nate Paul, a Houston real estate investor facing federal fraud charges. The whistleblowers claimed that Paxton’s personal involvement in the case raised concerns among high-ranking deputies. During a September meeting with the FBI, they accused Paxton of obstructing justice, abusing his office, engaging in harassment, and accepting bribes from Paul, as reported by the Texas Tribune.
Paxton’s campaign had received $25,000 from Paul in 2018, followed by another $25,000 in 2020 through an affiliated Super PAC, according to the whistleblowers. They further revealed that a company associated with Paul had carried out costly renovations for Paxton without charge, and that Paul’s company had employed a woman with whom the attorney general was allegedly having an affair.
After the meeting with the FBI, the whistleblowers informed Paxton of their actions. Soon after, all of them were either fired or resigned, and an eighth whistleblower was also terminated. However, the whistleblowers fought back and successfully sued Paxton for retaliation, resulting in a $3.3 million settlement last year.
Ongoing Investigation and Impeachment Proceedings
Following the whistleblowers’ revelations, the FBI initiated an investigation into Paxton, which has since been transferred to the Department of Justice. The investigation is still ongoing.
The evidence presented to the Texas House was deemed sufficient by 121 state representatives, nearly half of whom were Republicans, leading to Paxton’s impeachment. His trial will take place in the state Senate and must commence by Aug. 28, as reported by ABC News.
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