Attorney General Ken Paxton has been one of the most fervent supporters of the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump through some form of trickery. Now, it’s been revealed that his efforts included the intimidation of election officials.
In a bombshell column by Bridget Grumet in the Austin American-Statesmen, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir finally speaks about Paxton’s attempts to charge her with a crime. DeBeauvoir has been election chief for 35 years. Following the election, Paxton tried to have her indicted for obstructing a poll watcher, a misdemeanor that could carry up to a year in jail and $4,000 in fines.
The complaint was brought by Jennifer Fleck, a Republican poll watcher that claimed DeBeauvoir made her stand behind a glass wall that didn’t allow for proper poll scrutiny. Fleck is known for her conspiratorial mindset. After losing her runoff in Texas House District 47 in June, she insisted that she would walk the block to poll voters and see if her efforts matched up with the results. She was also in Washington D.C. on January 6, though she claims she did not enter the U.S. Capitol or participate in the attempted coup.
The grand jury ultimately decided not to indict DeBeauvoir, but she spent months under a cloud of threat from Paxton’s actions. She didn’t learn until July that the grand jury had returned a verdict of no bill in her case.
“There was nothing I could do to defend myself except to go hire — me, personally — go hire private attorneys. That was $75,000 to me,” DeBeauvoir told Grumet.
DeBeauvoir is stepping down from her position next month. The 68-year-old is adamant that Paxton’s attempts did not drive her from the job, and that she wanted to give someone enough time to run a proper campaign to replace her.
The attack on DeBeauvoir is only one of the many ways that Paxton has spent the last year trying to overturn the democratic process in Texas. His office blocked several counties from mailing out mail-in voter applications. He later boasted that if he had not done so, President Joe Biden would have carried the state.
Paxton also launched an enormously expensive witch hunt looking for voter fraud in Texas. After spending $2.2 million and 20,000 man hours in 2021, the special unit was only able to close three cases out of 11,149,473 votes cast in the state in 2020. To this date, Paxton has not uncovered a single piece of evidence showing organized fraud in the presidential election, though he continues to spout the conspiracy theory.
“I don’t think anybody knows the degree to which it happens because even our office who probably prosecutes more election fraud than anyone else in the country… We don’t have enough resources to cover all election fraud,” he said on his office podcast. “So it’s really hard to know how large an issue this is because very few states put any resources in to actually detect or prosecute voter fraud.”
Paxton has repeatedly used his office to block voters, intimidate officials, and spread lies about the electoral process, despite all evidence to the contrary. With the recent statement of DeBeauvoir, it’s clear that he will stoop to even dirtier tricks than previously reported.