In a highly significant and rare occurrence, the Texas House of Representatives is preparing to vote this week on the potential expulsion of Rep. Bryan Slaton, marking a historic moment as the first expulsion by the Texas House in over a century.
The decision to proceed with the expulsion vote stems from Slaton’s refusal to voluntarily resign, compelling the House to take this extraordinary step in response to the serious allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 19-year-old aide.
The committee’s chair, Rep. Andrew Murr, stated on Saturday that the investigative report states Slaton, aged 45, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a subordinate, which was facilitated by alcohol provided by Slaton to the 19-year-old staffer.
While Slaton and his attorney, Patrick Short, have not responded to requests for comment, Short previously referred to the allegations as “outrageous” and “false.”
According to the committee’s report, the legislative aides and interns claimed that Slaton had provided them with alcohol on multiple occasions. Subsequently, one of the aides, employed by Slaton, reported receiving evening phone calls from him, during which he made inappropriate comments about her appearance.
On March 31, Slaton invited the aide to his Austin condo, where he served her rum and coke until her vision became blurred and she felt “really dizzy,” according to the report. After her friends left the condo, the aide stayed behind, despite her impaired judgment.
The report states that the aide “could not effectively consent to intercourse and could not indicate whether it was welcome or unwelcome.”
“Slaton’s misconduct is grave and serious,” the House committee members wrote in the report. “He took advantage of his position to engage in sexual conduct after completing training in which he had been advised that conduct of this type was harassment because of the power imbalance.”
The House will vote on Tuesday, with a two-thirds majority of the 150 members required for expulsion.
So far, a substantial number of representatives from the Texas GOP are calling for the immediate resignation or removal of Slaton. The statement, which has been signed by 36 members of the 62-member State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) members, emphasizes the urgency of the situation and underscores the need for Slaton to step down, calling his conduct “wrong and unacceptable.”
Joining the growing chorus of voices demanding Slaton’s resignation is The Texas House Freedom Caucus, a group that includes some of the most socially conservative lawmakers who are usually politically aligned with Slaton.
“The abhorrent behavior described in the report requires clear and strong action,” the caucus said in a statement. “He should resign. If he does not, we will vote to expel him Tuesday.”
Furthermore, the Texas Right to Life PAC, a staunchly anti-abortion group that was a key supporter of Slaton’s political campaign, has taken a significant step by revoking its endorsement of Rep. Bryan Slaton.
In a newly released statement, the organization emphasizes the gravity of the situation and expresses its commitment to seeking a biblical response for all parties involved.
“In light of recent reports and the findings of the Texas House General Investigating Committee, Texas Right to Life PAC has decided to formally revoke our endorsement of Representative Bryan Slaton and is praying for a biblical response for all those involved,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokesperson for the group, wrote in a statement.
Amidst pressure, Slaton informed Gov. Abbott he would be resigning effective immediately on Monday afternoon.
Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to hold a special election to fill Slaton’s seat, however, it would not be able to take place before Memorial Day, marking the end of the session. Consequently, the constituents of House District 2 would, unfortunately, be left without representation during the final days of the session.