Current Events

House Committee Recommends The Impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton [UPDATE]

Attorney General Ken Paxton may be unable to avoid legal pursuits this time around, as the House Committee on General Investigating voted to send the articles of impeachment to the House.
Attorney General Ken Paxton may be unable to avoid legal pursuits this time around, as the House Committee on General Investigating voted to send the articles of impeachment to the House. Screenshot
After convening on Thursday evening, members of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating voted unanimously to recommend the impeachment and removal of Attorney General Ken Paxton from office.

This vote is a culmination of an investigation into the Paxton, that found reason to believe that the attorney general breached legal limits by providing federal classified documents to a friend and political donor Nate Paul.

Investigators also shared in testimony pertaining to the investigation – which was initially launched over Paxton’s attempt to have taxpayer money settle a $3.3 million whistleblower lawsuit – that Paxton engaged in other illicit behavior including misspending office funds and hiring outside legal counsel.

The House Committee on General Investigating proposed the adoption of 20 articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton – for the House and then Senate to review and decide on.

Of the 20, seven are for disregarding official duty, two are for constitutional bribery and another two are for the obstruction of justice.

Another three are for false statements in officials records and included are one each for the misapplication of public resources, conspiracy and attempted conspiracy, misappropriation of public resources, dereliction of duty, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust.

During impeachment proceedings, Paxton would be suspended from his duties and Governor Greg Abbott could choose to either leave his spot vacant or appoint someone temporarily.

Chris Hilton, the chief of general litigation for the Attorney General’s office claimed that the office was never contacted to confirm whether what was shared in testimony was even “remotely true.”

These allegations by Hilton were made after he disrupted the committee meeting and demanded to testify on behalf of the attorney general’s office. He was not permitted to do so and was asked to leave.

Prior to leaving, he said that the investigation was “illegal” under Texas law code that says elected officials “may not be removed from office for an act the officer may have committed before the officer's election to office."

Most of the allegations cited in the investigation are from before Paxton’s last election in 2022.

Hilton also claimed the investigation itself was “full of errors” and that all of the allegations were already known at the time of Paxton’s re-election.

On his way out, when asked by members of the media if he was sent by Paxton and where Paxton was, he declined to comment.
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Despite the slight disruption, committee members continued on and met privately to discuss what action would be taken.
When returning from executive session, the committee members promptly voted to refer the articles of impeachment to the full chamber.

The House will now hold a hearing to review the articles and if approved by a majority of the 150-member body before the regular legislative session ends on Monday, senators would need to hold a special session to hear the case.

Scandals are nothing new to the attorney general, as he faced securities fraud charges and a federal investigation into the whistleblowers’ initial claims; however, despite all these claims surrounding wrong doings, he has not faced the potential to be indicted until now.

Although the impeachment and removal of top-ranking state officials is rare, it has occurred in Texas in the past. However, not ever to an attorney general of the state.

For this to happen, the Senate would have to hear the case and two-thirds support in both chambers would be needed to authorize such actions.

The last time these proceedings took place was in 1975, when District Judge O.P Carrillo was impeached and removed from ruling and earlier in 1917 to then-Texas Governor James Ferguson.

In response to the committee's vote to refer the articles of impeachment to the House, Paxton took to twitter to release a statement.
Update 2:15 p.m. 5-26-23

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s wife, state senator Angela Paxton has yet to comment on whether she will be in the Senate while chamber members are reviewing the articles of impeachment against her husband.

It is standard procedure for the Senate to conduct a trial after they are sent the articles from the House. If this results in two-thirds vote in both chambers, Paxton will face impeachment and removal from the Legislature.

Details unveiled by investigators on Wednesday morning during a House Committee on General Investigating meeting also alleged an affair between the attorney general and an unnamed woman.

One of the impeachable offenses the investigators listed was Paxton’s acceptance of a bribe so the woman would receive a job through Nate Paul, the real instate investor, political donor and close friend of Paxton.

Neither Paxton nor his wife have commented on the alleged affair; however, there reportedly as a brief hiatus in their relationship related to the supposed affair.

If the senator chooses to take part in the Senate’s impeachment review, she will cast her vote, deciding whether or not she believes her husband should be removed from his position and if he committed other violations of the law while attorney general.

The memorandum from the Committee on General Investigating:
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Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.