AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas House committee voted Thursday afternoon to adopt articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The five-member panel of the House Committee on General Investigating agreed unanimously to move forward with impeaching Paxton. Their decision came one day AFTER they heard from a team of lawyers specializing in public corruption lay out extensive details about alleged misconduct by the three-term Republican official.
The investigators said they began looking into Paxton in March after a proposal emerged to use state funds to pay $3.3 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former employees who accused Paxton of wrongdoing. They ultimately said the evidence they collected these past few months would support at least a dozen criminal charges against Paxton, including securities fraud, dereliction of duty and retaliating against employees who raised ethical concerns.
In a last-second effort to stop the committee’s decision Thursday, a representative from the attorney general’s office appeared to defend Paxton. His office argued the committee has not coordinated with his office, adding that the allegations do not meet the threshold for impeachment.
Chris Hilton, the chief of the general litigation division at the Office of the Attorney General, told reporters, “The committee is clearly not concerned with the truth, but the voters do care about the truth. These accusations against General Paxton have been presented against him for years. He defeated 3 primary challengers last year, he won by 10 points in the general election. There’s nothing new that anyone heard yesterday.”
However, both Democratic and Republican members of the Texas House alike told KXAN Thursday they’re planning to move forward.
“Everything about the Attorney General is impropriety,” Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, said, “and moving forward, the state of Texas deserves better. He should have resigned years ago.”
Canales said he believes the House has more than enough votes to impeach Paxton, which requires just a simple majority.
If Paxton is impeached, the Senate will act as jury to decide whether to convict Paxton and remove him from office.
In response to the call for impeachment, Paxton issued a statement.
Read his full statement below.
Texas faces a critical moment for the rule of law and the will of Texas voters. Only months ago, Texans went to the polls and made a choice. They made their choice during a primary where over 1.5 million Texans cast their vote. They made that choice again when over 8 million people voted in the general election. Just yesterday, four liberal lawyers put forward a report to the House General Investigating Committee based on hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims. Today, that Committee has asked the Texas House of Representatives to use their unsubstantiated report to overturn the results of a free and fair election. This process provided no opportunity for rebuttal or due process. They even refused to allow a senior attorney from my office to provide the facts. They rejected every attempt to seek a full accounting of the truth.
By attacking the Office of the Attorney General, corrupted politicians in the Texas House, led by liberal Speaker Dade Phelan, are actively destroying Texas’s position as the most powerful backstop against the Biden agenda in the entire country. The RINOs in the Texas Legislature are now on the same side as Joe Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas, and Chuck Schumer, collaborating to tie our hands and render Texas less powerful and effective in the fight for the nation’s future. They want nothing more than to sabotage our legal challenges to Biden’s extremist agenda by taking me out as the state’s Attorney General.
There is a reason CNN called Texas “a legal graveyard for Biden policies.” I am doing exactly what voters elected me to do. It is a sad day for Texas as we witness the corrupt political establishment unite in this illegitimate attempt to overthrow the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of our state.
Attorney General Ken Paxton
This is developing news, so KXAN will update this story with more updates when they become available.