Bar Associations

State AG probes Texas Bar Foundation for allegedly aiding 'mass influx of illegal aliens'

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Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Photo from the Texas attorney general’s office.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opened an investigation into the Texas Bar Foundation for “possibly aiding and abetting the mass influx of illegal aliens,” according to a May 6 press release.

In a May 6 letter to the foundation, a lawyer in Paxton’s office said it has received complaints that the foundation provides grants to groups “that support, fund and encourage illegal immigration.”

The letter noted that the State Bar of Texas appoints the foundation’s trustees. If the foundation uses taxpayer dollars received from the state bar, “this is likely an improper use of charitable funds because the funds are diverted from their intended—and potentially unlawful—purpose,” the bar said in the press release.

The letter seeks documentation regarding grants to immigration-related charitable programs and organizations for the past 10 years and documentation regarding monitoring of how the funds were used by the organizations.

The letter didn’t specify which immigration groups are receiving funds. But at least five grantees are listed on the bar foundation website that provide financial and legal assistance to immigrants, according to Law360.

Neither the foundation nor the state bar is taxpayer funded, Trey Apffel, the state bar’s executive director told Bloomberg Law in an email.

Alistair Dawson, chair-elect of the Texas Bar Foundation, said in a May 6 statement the foundation does not receive funding from taxpayer dollars.

“To the contrary, our grants are made possible by the generosity of Texas lawyers,” Dawson said in the statement. “We receive voluntary contributions from the fellows of the foundation, and those contributions enable the foundation to award millions of dollars in grants.”

The foundation is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization that provides grants to charities throughout Texas to enhance the rule of law and the justice system, Dawson said.

According to Dawson, the foundation “is extremely disappointed to learn that AG Paxton has decided to use taxpayer dollars on a fruitless exercise. Had AG Paxton taken the time to come and speak with us rather than issue a press release, I am confident that he would have found no wrongdoing on the part of the foundation.”

Nonetheless, the foundation is happy to cooperate in Paxton’s probe, Dawson said.

See also: “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office concludes donation to his campaign wasn’t a bribe” “Texas attorney general faces ethics probe over election suit; former AG Barr fares better in DC”

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