The Texas House of Representatives has vote 121-23 to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The vote means Paxton is suspended from office as the matter moves into the Senate where a two-thirds vote is necessary to convict Paxton, which would permanently remove him from the office of attorney general and bar him from holding future elected office in Texas
The vote to adopt the 20 articles of impeachment — including bribery, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice — comes following testimony earlier this week from investigators appointed by the House General Investigating Committee after Paxton pushed to have the state pay $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed by whistleblowers who claim Paxton fired them in retaliation after they went to the U.S Department of Justice in 2020 with concerns regarding Paxton’s potential abuse of public office.
Investigators told the committee, during a public hearing on May 24, that Paxton had probably violated the law and that the settlement was an attempt to avoid him having to testify during a trial and turn over certain evidence. The committee then voted to recommend the House impeach the attorney general. Today’s vote followed a four-hour impeachment hearing.
Paxton supporters today decried the impeachment as a political witch hunt based hearsay evidence about Paxton — who, by the way, has been under federal felony indictment for two counts securities fraud throughout his eight-plus years as attorney general.
Those voting to impeach, however, said it was their duty to hold Paxton accountable for what they called a “a years-long pattern of misconduct and questionable actions ,” according to The Texas Tribune, which today quoted House General Investigating Committee Member David Spiller, a Republican state representative, as saying, “Today is a very grim and difficult day for this House and for the state of Texas. We have a duty and an obligation to protect the citizens of Texas from elected officials who abuse their office and their powers for personal gain. As a body, we should not be complicit in allowing that behavior.”
Statements and comments (added as they become available)
State Rep. Venton Jones: “The rule of law reigns supreme in Texas. We must continue to hold anyone accountable regardless of their elected position or title. After hearing over four hours of debate and seeing the facts presented, I believe there is enough clear and convincing evidence that Ken Paxton violated several laws and abused his power as Attorney General. It is unfortunate that this constitutional process is being construed by outside actors to be a partisan event when we are simply holding a corrupt elected official accountable for his actions.”
Kathleen Thompson, executive director at Progress Texas: “He’s earned every article, and Paxton’s years in office, riddled with fraud, corruption, and misinformation, are justly paused today. While Texans wait on the actions of the Senate, we celebrate the historic vote, bucking MAGA intimidation from Paxton himself, and twice impeached former president Donald Trump.”
State Rep. Rafael Anchía: “I approached this decision impartially and with a deep reverence for my responsibility to the people of Texas. My decision is not personal or ideological, but rather, grounded in the integrity of the Office of the Attorney General. In fact, I served with Ken Paxton in the Texas House and worked closely with him on bipartisan legislation. The Office of the Attorney General is charged by the Texas Constitution to defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas. This solemn charge requires conduct that is beyond reproach — leadership that avoids even the hint of impropriety. The work of the General Investigating Committee culminated in serious charges against Ken Paxton. I have carefully studied the transcript of the Presentation of Evidence before the Texas House Committee on General Investigating related to the Proposed Settlement with Whistleblowers and related conduct. Based on today’s proceedings, I am convinced that strong evidence exists that Attorney General Ken Paxton consistently abused his office for personal gain, including but not limited to, Disregard of Official Duty, Constitutional Bribery, Obstruction of Justice, Dereliction of Duty and Abuse of Public Trust. Therefore, I voted in favor of the Articles of Impeachment contained in House Resolution No. 2377. Justice requires that the rule of law must be applied evenly and fairly to all Texans. And nobody is above the law — especially the Texas Attorney General.”
— Tammye Nash