The committee recommended 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton, including bribery, unfitness for office, and abuse of public trust. The articles largely dealt with Paxton’s alleged efforts to shield a wealthy benefactor from an FBI investigation and efforts by his employees to stifle whistleblower complaints.
It was unclear when the House would take up a potential vote on impeaching Paxton. A spokesman for House Speaker Dad Phelan – a Republican with whom Paxton has feuded – referred the question to the committee on the House vote. Logan Harrison, a spokesman for the investigative panel, said a vote by the House on the articles of impeachment is expected soon, though he did not give a date. The session of the Legislative Assembly is about to end on Monday.
Harrison said that in the 150-member House, where Republicans hold 85 seats, a simple majority is needed to send articles of impeachment to the state senate. In the Senate, Harrison explained, Paxton could be impeached and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senators present. Republicans hold 19 of the 31 Senate seats; Democrats keep the remainder.
Paxton said in a statement Thursday evening that the committee’s investigative report was “based on hearsay and gossip, spewing long-disproved claims.”
Paxton said, “This is a sad day for Texas as we watch the corrupt political establishment unite in this illegitimate attempt to destroy the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of our state.”
Committee investigators said Wednesday that Paxton abused his official capacity, misappropriated official information and retaliated against whistleblowers who alleged corruption. October 2020, Paxton settled a corruption trial with four former aides in February for $3.3 million – an amount Paxton had sought to pay using taxpayer funds.
But the Texas legislature prohibited using public funds to pay for that settlement.
Investigators said Paxton had pressured the open records division in his office to help a donor and friend, Nate Paul, in his legal battle with a non-profit group in Austin. In return for that help, investigators said, Paul helped with “floor-to-ceiling renovations” at Paxton’s home and employed a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an extramarital affair.
Investigators also concluded that Paxton wrongfully fired several former employees who reported his inappropriate behavior to authorities.
Paxton has been under felony indictment for securities fraud since 2015, the year he became attorney general. The FBI opened an investigation against Paxton in November 2020, alleging that he used his office to benefit a wealthy donor. The Associated Press reported,
In September 2022, a Texas judge ordered paxton To make a statement regarding allegations of securities fraud. Despite the trial of the indictment and investigation, Texas voters elected Paxton to a third term as attorney general in 2022.
Same House Committee Recommends expulsion of MPs Rape. Brian Slaton earlier this month following an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations made against him by a 19-year-old colleague. Slaton resigned his seat the day before the House voted 147–0 to expel him.