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Senate will consider Texas AG Paxton impeachment rules June 20

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Following Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment by the state House the ball is now in the Senate’s court to hold an impeachment trial, with consideration of impeachment rules coming up on June 20.

Paxton was suspended from his duties and will face an impeachment trial on Aug. 28. John B. Scott serves as interim AG.

Paxton is accused of abusing his power and firing staff members who reported his alleged misconduct, as outlined in 20 articles of impeachment by the House Committee on General Investigating, according to several news outlets, including The Texas Tribune and the Associated Press. The committee approved the articles unanimously and the House voted 121-23 to impeach the AG.

The AG’s Office released a statement on May 27 that refutes the accusations against Paxton.

“The Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) released a comprehensive report that unequivocally refutes incorrect testimony that was heard in the House General Investigating Committee,” the statement says. “Based on the inaccuracies, falsehoods, and misstatements provided in that testimony, the Texas House chose to proceed with the illegal impeachment of Attorney General Paxton. …The General Investigating Committee’s politically motivated investigation against Attorney General Paxton is predicated on long-disproven claims grounded in hearsay and gossip.”

The statement also accuses the Committee on General Investigating of not asking to see the OAG’s report and a report from an outside law firm on accusations put forth that would have exonerated him.

Paxton’s most recent decision related to the collision repair industry happened in 2o22 when he issued a directive to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to release State Farm labor rate survey information asked for in a public records request from the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT). The first document was released in February. That followed a court order in January that relieved State Farm of a judge’s ruling that it must disclose its labor rate survey data and other information related to its estimating process.

Paxton also filed a legal challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new fuel economy standards with Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. Arizona filed a separate legal challenge.

The articles of impeachment state that Paxton allegedly disregarded his official duty in the protection of charitable organizations, abused the opinion and open records processes of his office, misused official information, violated laws governing the appointment of prosecuting attorneys pro tem, and fired whistleblowers. The other articles of impeachment include misapplication of public resources, entering a settlement agreement with whistleblowers, two acts of constitutional bribery, three acts of obstruction of justice, three acts of recording false statements in official records, conspiracy and attempted conspiracy, misappropriation of public resources, dereliction of duty, unfitness for office, and abuse of public trust.

The Texas Tribune reports that Republican representatives in Collin County, north of Dallas, have for the first time not rallied behind Paxton’s actions after long supporting him. All five Republican representatives from the county — Frederick Frazier of McKinney, Jeff Leach of Plano, Matt Shaheen of Plano, Justin Holland of Rockwall, and Candy Noble of Lucas — “exposed a statewide rift within the GOP that’s apparently also been playing out in Paxton’s backyard,” the newspaper wrote.


Featured image: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Credit: Texas Office of the Attorney General)

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