Over the strong opposition of his top executives, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is moving ahead with an investigation into the FBI and other governmental entities that was requested by Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer who is a big Paxton campaign donor, the Dallas Morning News reports.
One former and six current Paxton top lieutenants have accused their boss of improper influence, bribery and abuse of office and other criminal offenses. They question his relationship with Paul and his use of a private attorney to investigate Paul’s complaint.
According to a senior official in the office who spoke with the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, attorney Brandon Cammack has no formal approval to work for the agency as a special prosecutor. He’s been issuing subpoenas and conducting interviews, but has not disclosed his compensation or provided any media outlet with a copy of any employment agreement he has with the agency.
One of Paxton’s employees went to court to quash the subpoenas and won.
Paxton has refused requests that he resign, and his office is indicating it may retaliate against the group of employees who went public with their concerns.
“Making false claims is a very serious matter, and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law,” agency spokeswoman Kayleigh Date told the Texas Tribune.
Paxton has received $25,000 in campaign donations from Paul, whose home and business were raided by the FBI last year. Other details about the relationship are unknown.
Several other Republicans have returned donations they received from Paul since the scandal broke over the weekend. They include Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Houston), Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.
The new cloud of controversy around Paxton comes as he awaits movement on a felony indictment for securities fraud that has been pending for five years. Those charges are related to his private business dealings, not his election position.