The Williamson County GOP has condemned the handling of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment, which was rushed through the Texas House mere days before the end of the 88th Legislative Session.
“Williamson County Republican Party finds the process of seeking impeachment rushed, not transparent, fail[s] to meet the standard of due diligence, due process, and ignor[es] precedence in past impeachment procedure,” reads the resolution approved by two-thirds of the Williamson County GOP executive committee.
The final impeachment vote was 121-23—with 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans voting to impeach—but many grassroots organizations and activists are criticizing the House’s vote as more information comes to light on the process by which the House chose to impeach Paxton.
Just days after Paxton called for the resignation of House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) due to his apparent intoxication on the House floor, the House General Investigating Committee heard testimony from a group of five investigators secretly appointed by the committee back in March.
The investigators largely rehashed the ongoing indictment of Paxton on securities fraud charges that has been likened to a “political prosecution” for eight years and has been the focus of multiple campaigns. The main point of the investigators’ report was a settlement reached with four former employees of the Office of the Attorney General who say they were fired unfairly.
In October 2020, eight of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s top aides accused him of bribery and abuse of office. After being terminated from employment, four of the employees filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton, where they alleged that Paxton did political favors for Nate Paul, a real estate developer and donor, by having his office intervene in his legal disputes.
State Rep. Andrew Murr (R–Kerrville)—who chairs the House General Investigating Committee that referred the impeachment—revealed during an exchange with State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) that committee members did not interview or cross-examine witnesses, nor were the witnesses placed under oath. Additionally, Nate Paul was never even contacted by the committee.
House members were given no opportunity to talk to the investigators or access witness transcripts.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the investigation a “travesty,” and former President Donald Trump said it was “election interference,” inferring that voters had already known of the allegations against Paxton and voted for him anyway.
The Williamson County Republican Party harshly criticized the lack of transparency and “due diligence” by lawmakers.
They requested “thorough, lawful, due diligence and process be conducted in full view of the Senate and House with at least 15% of the House members [who did] NOT vot[e] YES included in the questioning of all relevant witnesses.”
In the meantime, they asked that the Senate reject the articles of impeachment until “full due process has been accomplished.”
The Senate will hold the impeachment trial, where a conviction will require a two-thirds majority before Paxton can be removed from office. Pending the outcome of that trial, Paxton has been suspended from his duties and former Texas Secretary of State John Scott has been appointed interim attorney general.