Criminal Justice

State investigators accuse Texas AG of abuse of office in public hearing

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Ken Paxton

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

Investigators outlined allegations of abuse of office against Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a public hearing by a GOP-led Texas House of Representatives panel in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday.

The New York Times called the fireworks an “intraparty showdown” that followed a request by Paxton’s office for $3.3 million to settle allegations by aides who claimed retaliation after they reported ethical issues.

Paxton responded by calling the investigators’ testimony false and labeling Republican Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan as a liberal. He also repeatedly accused Phelan of being drunk on the job; Phelan said Paxton was making the accusation to save face.

The Associated Press summarized the investigators’ testimony before the Texas House’s Committee on General Investigating.

“For more than three hours, investigators presented findings alleging Paxton sought to hide an affair, misused his office to help a donor, skirted protocols ‘grossly outside’ norms, and built a culture of fear and retaliation in his office,” the AP reported.

The New York Times said it was “an open question” whether the Texas House committee would recommend impeachment.

Other publications with coverage of the hearing Wednesday include Law360 (here and here) and Bloomberg Law.

Investigators reported on allegations that Paxton hired an inexperienced prosecutor to conduct a bogus investigation of law enforcement officials on behalf of a real estate investor who donated to the state attorney general’s campaign, according to Law360.

Paxton still faces criminal charges for alleged securities fraud for his work soliciting investors on behalf of a technology company.

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