Seven top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are accusing him of engaging in bribery and abusing his office, according to a letter released to the media on Saturday.
“We have a good faith belief that the attorney general is violating federal and/or state law including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses,” the aides wrote in a brief letter to the AG office’s director of human resources, dated October 1. The letter does not delve into specific accusations.
The employees also claim they have provided statements regarding Paxton’s alleged crimes “to the appropriate law enforcement authority.”
Topping the list of names signing onto the accusation is Jeff Mateer, who resigned abruptly as the First Assistant Attorney General on Friday after the letter was sent.
Well known for his conservative legal background, Mateer previously served as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group, before moving to Paxton’s office in 2016. He was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017 to become a U.S. judge in the Eastern District of Texas. However, that nomination was later withdrawn due to controversy over statements Mateer had made regarding the homosexual agenda.
Mateer was joined on the letter by six other top aides in the AG’s office, representing the heads of nearly all major departments at the agency. Signatories include Ryan Bangert, the Deputy First Assistant Attorney General and Ryan Vassar, the Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel, as well as the deputy attorneys general in charge of both civil litigation and criminal justice.
In a statement to the Austin American-Statesman, who along with KVUE-TV first obtained the letter, Paxton’s office essentially pointed the finger back at all seven of his deputies, claiming their letter was sent in order to obstruct an investigation into public employees, including employees in the AG’s office.
“The complaint filed against Attorney General Paxton was done to impede an ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing by public officials including employees of this office. Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law,” Paxton’s statement reads.