The House Committee on General Investigating could be poised to censure or impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was re-elected by Republican voters just last year.
At a Wednesday morning public hearing, the committee heard testimony from a group of four investigators secretly appointed by the committee back in March.
During the three hours of testimony, little new information was brought to light. The investigators 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 political campaigns.
The main focus of the investigator’s report, however, 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.
Earlier this year, Paxton appeared ready to settle with the employees.
As part of the terms of the settlement, Paxton would be required to release a statement saying he “accepts that plaintiffs acted in a manner that they thought was right and apologizes for referring to them as ‘rogue employees.’”
A $3.3 million cash portion of the settlement—largely compensation for lost wages over the last 27 months—required approval by the Legislature.
That approval, however, was not granted. Instead, the House General Investigating Committee has spent months creating a case against Paxton.
He says it underscores that House leadership has “nothing but contempt for the traditional values of conservative Texans.”
“It is not surprising that a committee appointed by liberal Speaker Dade Phelan would seek to disenfranchise Texas voters and sabotage my work as attorney general,” said Paxton. “The false testimony of highly partisan Democrat lawyers with the goal of manipulating and misleading the public is reprehensible. Every allegation is easily disproved, and I look forward to continuing my fight for conservative Texas values.”
The hearing also comes one day after Paxton called on House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign, due to what he says appears to be “debilitating intoxication” exhibited by the speaker in a viral video of him running the House and slurring his speech.
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