For someone who is supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer of Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton has a knack for lawlessness. In fact, it’s almost impossible to keep track of all his scandals, which is why we created this recap.
Because it happened seven years ago, it’s easy to forget that Paxton was indicted on felony securities fraud by a grand jury in 2015. The charges against Paxton stemmed from his ties to a firm called Severgy Incorporated. Both state and federal regulators maintained that Paxton misrepresented his relationship to the company to investors.
He was arrested in 2015, but since then the case has bounced around court rooms across the state. Paxton will likely have to appear at a deposition about the lawsuit after the November election.
As if being indicted wasn’t enough, Paxton’s legal woes go even further. Two years ago, several members of his staff were fired, resigned, or placed on leave after accusing the Attorney General of abuse of office and bribery. The whistleblowers were concerned about Paxton’s behavior with a wealthy Republican donor named Nate Paul, the founder president and CEO of World Class Property Company, which was raided by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2019.
The whistleblowers alleged that Paxton was using his own office to investigate the government agencies looking into Paul. Reporting from the Associated Press, shows that Paxton allegedly tried to get Paul’s company to hire a woman he was having an extramarital affair with.
But that’s not all. After the 2020 election (which President Biden won), Paxton filed an embarrassing lawsuit with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the results of four swing states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia. The Supreme Court tossed the suit, and the State Bar of Texas began looking into Paxton’s behavior in filing it (which he is asking to be dismissed).
Paxton’s election denial also took him all the way to the Insurrection. He spoke just before former President Trump at the rally on the morning of January 6th. He told the crowd, “We will not quit fighting. We’re Texans, we’re Americans, the fight will go on.” After police regained control, he erroneously claimed on Twitter that those who attacked the Capitol were “not Trump supporters.”
In February 2021, Paxton’s shenanigans continued. While many Texans recall Ted Cruz’s colossally stupid trip to Cancun during Winter Storm Uri, Paxton too left the state. He and his wife were in Utah, where he said he was attending a previously scheduled meeting with fellow AG’s.
Later that month, Paxton would travel to Florida. On February 27, 2021 he posted a photo from the golf course of Mar-A-Lago with former president Trump. The Attorney General’s office called the trip official business, even though Trump was no longer in office. It raises some questions over whether there was the potential for misused official travel, a possible ethics violation.
As he faces his toughest race yet against attorney Rochelle Garza, Paxton has not let up on baffling behavior. He has filed amicus briefs on behalf of Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham. And he recently tried to dodge a process server who was trying to deliver a subpoena for him to testify in an upcoming abortion case. A federal judge has since ordered him to testify.
With less than five weeks until Election Day, could Paxton do anything else embarrassing? Probably and likely.
The deadline to register to vote for November’s election is October 11. Early voting in Texas begins October 24.
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