Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during a news conference after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in President Joe Biden’s bid to overturn a Trump-era immigration policy that forced migrants to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings on their asylum claims in Washington, USA, April 26, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
A Texas House committee voted unanimously Thursday to recommend the state Attorney General Ken Paxton be impeached and removed from office.
The state House of Representatives could vote on the recommendation as early as Friday.
Five-member On Wednesday, the investigative committee led by the Republican government met to discuss allegations of wrongdoing against Paxton, a fellow Republican and the state’s top lawyer.
Investigators for the House General Investigation Committee he told the panel there was evidence that Paxton repeatedly violated state laws, including misuse of official information, abuse of official capacity, and retaliation.
Paxton he tweeted the charges against him were based on “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-debunked claims” and pushed by “RINOs” — only on behalf of Republicans.
Chris Hilton, head of general litigation in Paxton’s office, called the committee’s investigation “illegal.” He said “impeachment is completely precluded by Texas law” in Paxton’s case because the alleged misconduct predated his last election.
Some of the allegations against Paxton date back years.
He is awaiting trial indictment on charges of government securities fraud in 2015. He was in 2020, four of his former aides suedwho claimed he fired them for reporting him to federal law enforcement for allegedly accepting bribes and using his office to help one of his campaign contributors.
The parties reached a 3.3 million dollars settlement earlier this year, but the Texas Legislature has been reluctant to use taxpayer money to pay for the settlement. A House committee opened an investigation after the settlement agreement.
Paxton’s office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night, has denied any wrongdoing and insists all allegations against him are politically motivated.
If the full House voted to impeach Paxton, he would be immediately recalled pending a court ruling on the charges in the state Senate, the Texas Tribune reported.
Hilton told reporters in Austin that voters were aware of the allegations against Paxton and re-elected him this November anyway. “The voters have spoken — they want Ken Paxton as attorney general,” Hilton said.