After the Texas Senate voted to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton on all charges of impeachment, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had strong words for the House who brought the charges forward.
Patrick, who presided over the proceedings, had been silent on the merits of the case until after the decision. Once it was final, Patrick offered comments that blasted the House’s process in an effort to ensure it didn’t happen again.
“In the past, the target of the investigation was notified and invited to attend with counsel and given the opportunity to cross examine witnesses that were placed under oath before testimony was taken. At the conclusion of past House investigations, the evidence was laid out for weeks for House members to evaluate before they took their vote on articles of impeachment,” said Patrick.
In contrast, House members were given 48 hours notice before their vote impeach Paxton in May.
“In the next regular session, we must amend the Texas Constitution on the issue of impeachment, because the way the constitution is currently written allowed this flawed process to happen this year.,” said Patrick. “Any testimony given in a House impeachment investigation must be given under oath and the target must be allowed to be present with a lawyer to cross examine the witnesses. Otherwise, people can say anything without any accountability or need to be truthful because there is no threat of perjury.”
House witnesses were notably not put under oath when they talked with investigators earlier this year.
“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on this impeachment. 31 Senators and a large Senate staff that made this trial possible have put their family life, jobs, and businesses on hold for 3 months after being here already from January to June,” Patrick added.
Additionally, he called on a full audit of taxpayer money spent by the House on the investigation.
“We will provide our costs as well that were forced on us by the House impeachment. One big difference is that the Senate did not pay a huge team of outside lawyers and investigators,” said Patrick.
“An impeachment should never happen again in the House like it happened this year,” he added.
Phelan released his own statement accusing Patrick of “attack[ing] the House for standing up to corruption.”
Meanwhile, State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian)—who voted for Phelan in January—is calling for his resignation following the Senate’s acquittal.
“Instead of securing the border, passing school choice, banning COVID mandates, fixing our grid and energy market, reining in emergency executive powers, cutting spending, ending property taxes, deregulating our economy, or stopping communist governments from buying Texas land, the Speaker of the House prioritized the impeachment of a recently re-elected Attorney General who has proven he is up to the most important task of our time: fighting the out of control federal government, which seeks to destroy our rights, our freedoms, our liberties, our state sovereignty, and the Constitution,” said Harrison.
“For that reason, in addition to his appointment of liberal Democrats to chair powerful committees and his presiding over the House while clearly unable to execute the duties of his office, I am calling on Speaker Dade Phelan to step down immediately,” he added.