The Texas House General Investigating Committee made an unprecedented move on Thursday by voting to recommend the impeachment and removal of Attorney General Ken Paxton from office. The committee just anounced they plan to call up the impeachment of Paxton at 1 pm on Saturday.
20 articles of impeachment were filed against Paxton, in the Texas House, accusing the Republican official of a range of criminal acts. The next step is for the full Texas House to vote on them.
According to a memo from The House General Investigating Committee, there will be 4 hours for debate (2 hours for proponent and 2 hours for opponents of impeachment,) before voting.
Impeaching an attorney general is an extraordinary measure that has not been taken by the Legislature before, typically reserved for public officials facing serious allegations of abusing their powers.
Shortly before the decision, a representative from Paxton’s office demanded to testify in front of the House committee investigating the alleged criminal acts, condemning the committee’s actions as “illegal.” However, the committee proceeded with the meeting and entered executive session.
Chris Hilton, chief of general litigation for the attorney general’s office, argued that the committee’s actions violated a section of Texas law stating that a state officer cannot be removed from office for an act committed before their election. Hilton contended that any impeachment should be limited to conduct since the most recent elections.
On the previous day, the committee heard three hours of testimony outlining a yearslong pattern of misconduct and questionable actions by Paxton, including securities fraud charges and allegations of using his office for personal benefit. The public disclosure of these allegations showcased the extensive investigation into the state’s top lawyer and a member of the Republican Party.
The House General Investigating Committee holds significant authority to investigate state officials for wrongdoing and can issue subpoenas for witnesses and records, as well as recommend impeachment. The impeachment proceedings can only be initiated by the Texas House, leading to a trial by the Senate. Removal from office requires two-thirds support in both chambers, a rare occurrence in Texas history.
Here are the 20 articles according to House Resolution 2377:
1. Disregard of Official Duty – Protection of Charitable Organization
2. Disregard of Official Duty – Abuse of the Opinion Process
3. Disregard of Official Duty – Abuse of the Open Records Process
4. Disregard of Official Duty – Misuse of Official Information
5. Disregard of Official Duty – Engagement of Cammack
6. Disregard of Official Duty – Termination of Whistleblowers
7. Misapplication of Public Resources – Whistleblower Investigation and Report
8. Disregard of Official Duty – Settlement Agreement
9. Constitutional Bribery – Paul’s Employment of Mistress
10. Constitutional Bribery – Paul’s Providing Renovations to Paxton Home
11. Obstruction of Justice – Abuse of Judicial Process
12. Obstruction of Justice – Abuse of Judicial Process
13. False Statements in Official Records – State Securities Board Investigation
14. False Statements in Official Records – Personal Financial Statements
15. False Statements in Official Records – Whistleblower Response Report
16. Conspiracy and Attempted Conspiracy
17. Misappropriation of Public Resources
18. Dereliction of Duty
19. Unfitness for Office
20. Abuse of Public Trust
At the time of publication of this story there is no timeline for when the vote will come up. It’s just been introduced to the members and copies of the resolution and yesterday’s committee hearing transcript were shared. No clarity on whether additional evidence will be shared.
This is a developing story.