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 rescind a Trump-era immigration policy that forced migrants to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings on their asylum claims, in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
A Texas House committee on Thursday unanimously voted to recommend that state Attorney General Ken Paxton be impeached and removed from office.
The state House of Representatives could vote on the recommendation as soon as Friday.
The five-member GOP-led investigative committee met Wednesday to discuss the allegations of wrongdoing against Paxton, a fellow Republican and the state’s top lawyer.
Investigators for the House General Investigating committee told the panel there was evidence that Paxton had repeatedly broken state laws, including misuse of official information, abuse of official capacity and retaliation.
Paxton tweeted the allegations against him were based on “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims” and being championed by “RINOs” — Republicans in name only.
Chris Hilton, the chief of general litigation for Paxton’s office, called the committee’s probe “illegal.” He said “impeachment is completely foreclosed by Texas law” in Paxton’s case, because the alleged misconduct predates his most recent election.
Some of the allegations against Paxton date back years.
He’s been awaiting trial on an indictment for state securities fraud charges from 2015. He was sued in 2020 by four of his former aides, who alleged that he fired them for reporting him to federal law enforcement for allegedly taking bribes and using his office to help one of his campaign contributors.
The parties reached a $3.3 million settlement earlier this year, but the Texas Legislature has balked at using taxpayer money to pay for the settlement. The House committee started its probe after the settlement agreement.
Paxton’s office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening, has denied any wrongdoing and maintained all the allegations against him are politically motivated.
If the full House votes to impeach Paxton, he’d be removed immediately pending the resolution of a trial 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 past November anyway. “The voters have spoken — they want Ken Paxton as their attorney general,” Hilton said.