Lewis Brisbois report cited as Texas AG heads to state Senate trial after impeachment
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Photo from the Texas attorney general’s office.
Impeached Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had a legitimate reason to fire whistleblowers, according to a tweet by his office citing a law firm report backing up that claim.
The tweet followed a vote to impeach Paxton on Saturday by the Texas House of Representatives. The vote to impeach Paxton was 121 in favor, with 146 Texas House members present, according to the Washington Post and the New York Times. Sixty Republicans had voted to impeach. He now faces a trial in the Texas Senate.
The Washington Post described Paxton as “a fierce defender of former President Donald Trump and a defiant opponent of the Biden administration.”
The report supporting Paxton’s firings of seven people in his office was prepared by Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, the National Law Journal reports. The report was based only on information provided by the state attorney general’s office and interviews with its current employees.
The Lewis Brisbois report was offered to the Texas House, but it refused to accept it, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Four of the fired employees sued and reached a $3.3 million settlement that would have to be approved by state lawmakers. The request for payment led to the impeachment investigation.
“The evidence we have been able to obtain continues to support the OAG’s legitimate, nonretaliatory grounds for firing each complainant,” the Lewis Brisbois report said. “Moreover, Lewis Brisbois has identified evidence supporting OAG’s assertion that it would have taken the same adverse employment action against each of the complainants even in the absence of any alleged protected activity.”
The complainants “were creating a toxic environment” in the office, and their firings were based on issues related to job performance and, in some cases, insubordination, according to the report.
A Texas House committee had recommended impeachment last week for Paxton’s alleged misuse of his office to benefit a developer who contributed to his campaign and provided other benefits. The articles of impeachment also cited the firings.
More specifically, the developer allegedly employed a woman with whom Paxton was having an affair and provided renovations to Paxton’s home, according to the articles of impeachment.
Paxton has temporarily been removed from office pending a Texas Senate trial. A two-thirds vote is needed to convict.
“I look forward to a quick resolution in the Texas Senate, where I have full confidence the process will be fair and just,” Paxton said in a statement.
ABAJournal.com: “State investigators accuse Texas AG of abuse of office in public hearing”