The impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton cost more than $4.3 million to taxpayers, according to a new report by the Dallas Morning News.
Taxpayers will pay for over 24 attorneys that worked in prosecuting Paxton, accounting for more than 7,800 hours of legal work, omitting all but one attorney’s invoices, according to documents and invoices. According to the Dallas Morning News, this amount will likely be used as political ammo against the politicians that supported Paxton’s impeachment.
Still, some attorneys said that they worked in prosecuting Paxton at a lower rate than they typically charge. Co-lead counsel Dick DeGuerin said that he and co-lead counsel Rusty Hardin worked under a $500-an-hour rate, far below what they usually charge. Invoices from Hardin’s firm said that he did not bill for hundreds of hours of work conducted by his staff.
The impeachment effort stemmed from the fallout of a whistleblower settlement of $3.3 million, which triggered the investigation. Allegations of Paxton’s involvement with an indicted real estate developer catalyzed the impeachment proceedings, which were amplified by four top deputies filing wrongful termination lawsuits. The subsequent House investigation and legal prosecution saw extensive involvement from high-profile Houston lawyers.
“We presented strong evidence that Paxton just surrendered the power of his office in a corrupt way. It’s just that his financial supporters threatened retaliation against the Republicans that would have voted for conviction,” DeGuerin said.
Despite the enormous cost and the trial’s outcome, attorneys like DeGuerin affirm the worth of their efforts, pointing out the broader implications beyond a simple financial price tag.
“The amount of our fees are a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of money and integrity caused by the misconduct of Paxton,” Hardin said. “The jury verdict the whistleblowers will ultimately recover in their law suits will far exceed any money the House spent on the Impeachment effort.”