Barely six weeks into the new year and Ken Paxton is keeping himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
This afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the Department of Justice would be taking over the current investigation looking into potential bribery and corruption that occurred at the Attorney General’s office. A U.S. Attorney’s office had been looking into the matter before the transfer to the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice.
Paxton’s troubles stem from events that occurred in 2020, when seven members of his staff accused him of abuse of office and reported their concerns to federal authorities. The staff members were alarmed about Paxton’s relationship with Nate Paul, a wealthy donor in Austin who is also the founder, president, and CEO of World Class Property Company.
After agents with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Treasury raided Paul’s office and home in 2019, Paxton, through his office, stepped in and launched an investigation into those government agencies who targeted Paul. The aides that reported Paxton were either fired, resigned or placed on leave.
Earlier this month it was announced that Paxton had settled with four of the whistleblowers with an apology and $3.3 million. Though Paxton said he was settling to save taxpayers money, the financial settlement is still coming from state funds. Republican Speaker Dade Phelan told a local affiliate that he did not support the settlement coming from taxpayer funds.
In 2015, Paxton was indicted by a grand jury for federal securities fraud. That case has bounced around courtrooms for nearly eight years.
A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).