State Government

Texas House panel recommends impeachment for state attorney general

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AP Ken Paxton January 2021

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press.

A committee of the Texas House of Representatives has recommended that Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton be impeached for allegedly misusing his power to benefit a developer who contributed to his campaign and provided other benefits.

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.

Law360, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post have coverage.

Paxton also settled a lawsuit for $3.3 million brought by aides who contended that Paxton retaliated against them for raising concerns, which prevented a trial and kept testimony about their allegations out of the public eye, according to the articles of impeachment. Paxton also managed to delay a trial in a securities-fraud case against him, “which deprived the electorate of its opportunity to make an informed decision when voting for attorney general,” the document said.

Voters gave Paxton a third term in November 2022. His litigation chief, Chris Hilton, said in a video clip posted by Paxton on Twitter “any proposed impeachment may only be about conduct since the most recent election. The voters have spoken. They want Ken Paxton.”

The Texas House’s Committee on General Investigating, which recommended impeachment, is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats. Paxton could be impeached with a majority vote of the Texas House, where Republicans have 85 out of 150 seats, according to the Washington Post. If there is an impeachment, a two-thirds vote of senators who are present would be needed to convict. Nineteen of the Texas Senate’s 31 seats are held by Republicans.

If Paxton is impeached, he would preliminarily be removed from office pending the Texas Senate vote.

The Texas House committee heard from investigators in a public hearing Wednesday.

Paxton released a statement after the committee vote.

“Four liberal lawyers put forward a report to the House General Investigating Committee based on hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims,” the statement read. “This process provided no opportunity for rebuttal or due process. They even refused to allow a senior attorney from my office to provide the facts. They rejected every attempt to seek a full accounting of the truth.”

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