Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal team is reportedly considering calling the founder and chairman of Texans for Lawsuit Reform to testify when the Senate holds its impeachment trial next month.
The revelation comes after the Dallas Morning News reported on witness lists leaked to them, despite the fact that the Senate trial rules state the witness lists are confidential.
Texans for Lawsuit Reform emerged in the 1990s as a business advocacy group working to stop out-of-control lawsuits, giving to both Republicans and Democrats. Since the early 2000s, it has developed a reputation for blocking Republican social priorities in the Legislature. Politically, the ostensibly Republican group has supported Democrats over viable Republican challengers.
Austin political observers have noted that TLR has opposed Paxton for years, particularly after he challenged the speakership of liberal Republican Joe Straus in 2011.
TLR’s founder and chairman is Houston businessman Dick Weekley. He and TLR contributed more than $3 million to former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who finished third in her challenge to Paxton in the 2022 Republican primary. Paxton went on to defeat George P. Bush in the runoff.
If Weekley is indeed called to testify, legal observers expect he would have to comment on the role his organization has played leading up to the House impeachment of Paxton.
Texas Scorecard has previously provided analysis on TLR’s role in funding Democrats and trial lawyers, despite the group’s stated mission.
Guzman and George P. Bush are on Paxton’s witness list.
House impeachment prosecutors, meanwhile, are reportedly going to call on Paxton to testify himself, though his lawyers have previously said he would not do so.
Real estate developer Nate Paul and former Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore are also on House prosecutors’ list.
While Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Paxton’s legal team have not commented on the leak as of publishing, Dick DeGuerin—one of the House prosecutors—told the DMN it did not come from his team.
The Senate trial is scheduled to begin on September 5.