Follow our live updates Impeachment proceedings by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The Republican-dominated Texas House is scheduled to vote on the impeachment of the state’s Republican Attorney General, Ken Paxton, at 1 p.m. Saturday.
A bipartisan vote was held two days later, but the Republican-led House of Representatives, Mr. It recommended that Paxton be charged with several counts of misconduct that could amount to felonies.
The Attorney General has handled various legal challenges over the years, facing many investigations with some political consequences. On Friday, Mr. Paxton again denied any wrongdoing and called on supporters to “quietly” make their voices heard during the impeachment vote at the state Capitol.
Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Ken Paxton?
Before he became attorney general in 2015, Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr. worked as a lawyer and state legislator, serving in both the state House and Senate. His wife, Angela Paxton, became a political force in her own right, winning a seat in the state Senate in 2018.
As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Paxton positioned himself as a champion of the social issues driving Texas conservatives, effectively becoming the state’s chief culture-war advocate. Even with loyal voters, his hard-charging style alienated some Republican allies.
Former President Donald J. Trump with Mr. Paxton has closely associated himself — and has endorsed — and used his office to challenge the results of the 2020 election. He has frequently mounted legal challenges to the Biden administration’s actions, and has been at the forefront of efforts by Republican-led states to challenge the president’s efforts to ease some restrictions on migration along the U.S. southern border.
Voters in November elected Mr. Paxton was re-elected for a third term.
What were the allegations that prompted the House investigation?
In 2020, Mr. Several senior members of Paxton’s staff wrote letters demanding an investigation into their employer’s actions. In the interests of Nate Paul, a friend of the Attorney General and a political donor, Mr. Aides accused Paxton of using his office.
A wealthy real estate investor in Austin, Mr. Paul, after his home and offices were raided by federal agents in 2019, Mr. Contacted Paxton. Mr. Paxton took the unusual step of authorizing a state investigation, against the strong objections of his staff. Activities of the FBI. He hired an outside attorney, who billed himself as a special prosecutor, to do it, though House committee investigators said he had no prosecutorial experience. FBI officials have not commented on their investigation.
At that time, Mr. “I have never been motivated by a desire to protect a political donor or abuse this office, and I never will,” Paxton said in a statement.
In their 2020 letter, Mr. Paxton’s aides said he committed bribery, abuse of office and other “potential criminal offenses.” The four assistants took their concerns to the FBI and the Texas Rangers.
According to legal filings in the case, the four aides reported their concerns to the attorney general’s office; A few weeks later, they were all fired. The assistants then filed a case, Mr.
During the prosecution, Mr. Paxton’s office was presented 374 page report “AG Paxton committed no crime,” he concluded. He has also challenged the case, but A Texas appeals court ruled against him. In February, Mr. Paxton agreed to pay $3.3 million in a settlement with four former senior aides.
How did that lead to the possibility of impeachment?
Questions about how the settlement would be paid prompted further investigation into the 2020 allegations.
Mr. Paxton asked the Texas Legislature for $3.3 million in funding. House Speaker Tate Phelan, a Republican who is considered a traditional conservative, does not support the use of government money. A House inquiry into the allegations was launched to gather information about the financial claim, Mr. Phelan’s spokesman said.
Mr. Many of the investigators’ findings about Paxton were already publicly known from allegations made in the aides’ case. But a House committee vote on Thursday provided the first official verdict on those charges: They were Mr. Legislators said that was enough to begin the process of removing Paxton from office.
What do the articles of impeachment say?
Committee filed 20 Articles of Indictment On Thursday Mr. Against Paxton. As they were passed around the House chamber, the committee’s chairman, Republican Andrew Moore, said they described “serious crimes.”
Articles by Mr. The charges against Paxton include bribery, neglect of official duty, obstruction of justice in a separate securities fraud case pending against him, making false statements on official documents and reports and abuse of public trust.
Mr. There were several allegations that Paxton used his office to benefit Mr. Paul, the committee said, and later removed from office those who spoke out against his actions.
“Because Nate Paul hires a woman who had an extramarital affair with a woman,” Mr. Paxton said he had benefited, and Roy F. and Mr. by the Joan Cole Mitte Foundation. The articles also allege that Ballin intervened in a lawsuit filed against the companies. An Austin nonprofit group.
Mr. What other legal problems does Paxton face?
A federal investigation opened as a result of aides’ complaints of corruption and retaliation has so far resulted in no charges.
But Mr. Paxton has been under criminal charges for most of his tenure as the state’s attorney general.
In 2015, his first year in office, Mr. Paxton was charged with securities fraud and booked into a county jail outside Dallas. Mr. Allegations arose that Paxton had misled investors and clients — for example, by failing to tell investors he would earn a commission on their investments when he did securities work in the years before he became attorney general.
He has denied any wrongdoing in this case which is yet to be investigated.
Mr. Articles of impeachment this week allege that a lawsuit filed by a donor to Paxton’s campaign accused him of effectively delaying the trial and obstructing justice in the case.
What happens next?
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Mr. said Paxton, chairman of the inquiry.
The impeachment is pending a state Senate hearing on the allegations, Mr. Paxton will be temporarily removed from office, where some of his closest associates, including his wife, will serve as jurors. Senate proceedings may be delayed until after the regular legislative session ends on Monday. The Senate may reconvene to hold a hearing later, though the timing remains uncertain.
Mr. A lawyer from Paxton’s office, Christopher Hilton, said the committee’s process for publishing incriminating articles was “completely lacking” and that Mr. He added that the issues raised during Paxton’s successful re-election campaign were fully aired. .
In what appeared to be a preview of a possible legal challenge to the measures, Mr. Hilton also said Texas law allowed impeachment only for conduct from a previous election. Most of the allegations in the articles of impeachment involve conduct that occurred prior to that time.
Reporting contributed Manny Fernandez, Miriam Jordan, Edgar Sandoval And Rick Rojas.