The Collin County GOP—Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s home county—and the Parker County GOP have called into question the Texas House’s impeachment process.
“The impeachment of General Paxton failed to comply with applicable law and historical precedent,” reads the Collin County resolution. “Due Process and the Rule of Law are the very foundation of our republic and necessary to the proper functioning of a free society without adherence to which we become nothing more than a banana republic.”
The resolution highlights several issues with the House’s impeachment process, including the fact that the House General Investigating Committee did not place witnesses under oath before taking their statements. The articles of impeachment include allegations about misconduct that allegedly occurred before Paxton’s last election, which contravenes a state law prohibiting the consideration of any misconduct allegations that took place before the election. The resolution also says Paxton was not allowed to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses, breaking precedent established in the Texas House of Representatives 1975-76 Carrillo impeachment proceedings.
Notably, all five Republican state representatives hailing from Collin County—Jeff Leach (Allen), Candy Noble (Lucas), Frederick Fraizer (McKinney), Matt Shaheen (Plano), and Justin Holland (Heath)—voted to impeach Paxton.
Meanwhile, the Parker County resolution also highlights that several of the accusations levied against Paxton were “known and used by his opponents in political advertising during the last election cycle.” The resolution also says that despite “the attempts to convict him in the court of public opinion,” Paxton “was duly elected by Texas voters in November 2022.”
The impeachment comes after the House Committee of General Investigating initiated an investigation of Paxton revolving around a settlement with four former employees of the Office of the Attorney General who say they were fired unfairly.
Paxton’s legal team has called the House’s impeachment articles “baloney.”
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 rehashed the ongoing indictment of Paxton on securities fraud charges, which 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 contacted by the committee.
House members were given no opportunity to talk to the investigators or access witness transcripts.
Pending the trial’s outcome, Paxton has been suspended from his duties and former Texas Secretary of State John Scott has been appointed interim attorney general.
The Senate will hold the impeachment trial, where a conviction will require a two-thirds majority before Paxton can be removed from office. A Senate committee has been convened to determine the rules for the impeachment proceedings and is expected to announce its findings in the coming weeks.
Both the Collin County GOP and the Parker County GOP have asked Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate to return the articles of impeachment to the Texas House until due process is satisfied.