On Monday, four whistleblowers who helped ignite an FBI investigation of Texas attorney General Ken Paxton for bribery and other misconduct issued a detailed rebuttal to what they called “numerous false and misleading public statements” made by Paxton in recent weeks.
The statement came from Former Deputy Attorney General James Blake Brickman, Mark Penley, Ryan Vassar, and former Director of Law Enforcement David Maxwell.
On September 30, 2020, they reported Ken Paxton’s and his agency’s corrupt and criminal conduct to the FBI. After getting fired, they filed a lawsuit under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
The lawsuit alleges that Paxton illegally used his office in 2019-2020 to help multi-millionaire Austin investor Nate Paul, in exchange for benefits that included remodeling Paxton’s Austin home, employing Paxton’s mistress, and receiving a $25,000 political donation, as reported by Austin American-Statesman.
Up until this moment, the whistleblowers’ preference was to remain silent while the FBI investigation was still ongoing and while their civil case progressed in courts. However, due to Paxton’s recent remarks, they felt obligated to correct the misleading remarks, according to the statement.
“The people of Texas deserve the truth,” the four former officials said in a joint statement. “The most basic qualifications of an attorney general are respect for truth and respect for the law. Ken Paxton has neither.”
Paxton’s misleading statements include:
- In a Jan. 31 interview with North Texas radio host Mark Davis, Paxton attacked the whistleblowers claiming they “didn’t come to him” and “didn’t explain” the issues with his criminal behavior.
He also accused the whistleblowers of “committing crimes and doing things that were illegal”
However, the whistleblowers call Paxton out, saying his allegations are “ridiculous.” Their complaint details specific dates of conversations with the Attorney General, where they confronted him on his corrupt and criminal conduct.
“When he would not abide by the law, we reported him to the FBI. Paxton is under criminal investigation, not the whistleblowers,” the statement says.
- During a Feb. 9 appearance in a video posted on Youtube by Texas Scorecard, a conservative media outlet started by the far-right group Empower Texans, Paxton said he “didn’t create this issue … it was referred to me from Travis County,” referring to the efforts to launch the criminal investigation Paul wanted.
According to the Travis County District Attorney, Margaret Moore, it was Paxton who personally went to her with the campaign donor and his attorney to initiate the complaint.
Paxton then went on to say he was totally blindsided by the allegations, and that still to this day he has no idea why the whistleblowers are publicly accusing him.
“No specific allegation, just you’ve done something wrong. Now you’re in trouble. And then everybody points to me as like, ‘you’ve done something wrong,’ ” Paxton said. “I still to this day, I have no idea what crime I committed.”
According to the statement, Paxton is fully aware of the allegations as he and his taxpayer-funded staff wrote a 374-page manifesto purporting to exonerate him from those allegations.
In addition, the complaint in the whistleblower case includes detailed factual allegations and identifies at least six federal and state criminal laws that they accused Paxton and his office of violating.