Criminal Justice

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office concludes donation to his campaign wasn't a bribe

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Ken Paxton

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

Accusations of wrongdoing by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were “either factually incorrect or legally deficient,” according to a report released earlier this week by his office.

The unsigned report considered allegations by former Paxton aides that the Texas attorney general abused his office and accepted a bribe to help friend and real estate developer Nate Paul, report Law360, the Texas Tribune, the Austin American-Statesman and the Dallas Morning News.

The report said Paul’s $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in 2018 did not constitute a bribe because there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. The report did not address later allegations that Paul helped remodel Paxton’s home and helped find a job for Paxton’s alleged paramour.

The report rejected allegations that Paxton used his office to help Paul in an open records battle, intervene in a lawsuit between Paul’s real estate firm and a charity, provide a legal opinion regarding foreclosures, and hire a special prosecutor for a probe into an FBI raid of Paul’s home.

According to the report, some of Paxton’s actions were adverse to Paul; they were consistent with prior actions by Texas attorneys general; and they all were undertaken pursuant to his legal authority. And the campaign donation was made in 2018, well before alleged improper actions by Paxton and even before the FBI raid on Paul’s home, the report said.

“There is no evidence of any bribe or criminal undue influence,” the report said. “The fact that an action may help a donor, friend or acquaintance by itself is not evidence of a crime.”

The report instead accuses some of the former aides of wrongdoing by leaking confidential information and deleting emails.

Four of the Paxton aides who lobbed the accusations filed a lawsuit alleging that they were fired for taking their concerns to the FBI. Lawyers for the plaintiffs released a statement calling the report “a half-baked self-exoneration.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Paxton faces separate accusations of securities fraud for his work soliciting investors for a technology company.

See also: “Texas AG agrees to stop blocking Twitter users for ‘First Amendment-protected viewpoints’” “Afternoon Briefs: $26B opioid settlement proposed; lawyer resigns after he’s accused of nude cleaning proposal” “Texas attorney general faces ethics probe over election suit; former AG Barr fares better in DC” “Texas AG asks SCOTUS to overturn election results in 4 states via its original petition”

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