Even if he is unlikely to resign as Texas Attorney General, the outlook for Ken Paxton keeps getting grimmer. It was already reported that Paxton is being investigated by the FBI for bribery and abuse of office, but this week brought even more scrutiny of the embattled AG and his connection to an Austin mega-donor.
Earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle reported that Paxton received a couple of campaign donations totaling $25,000 in June from a PAC associated with the law firm Hance Scarborough LLP. Though a law firm PAC making large campaign contributions is often not noteworthy, Hance Scarborough also represents Nate Paul, the Founder, President, and CEO of World Class Property Company, who is at the center of Paxton’s current legal predicament.
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. That prompted seven members of Paxton’s staff to report their concerns to federal authorities.
Paxton and his office retaliated. All of the former aides to Paxton have since been fired, resigned, or placed on leave. Four of those aides filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton.
Paxton’s relationship with Paul appears to be deep. Paxton reportedly had an extramarital affair with a former Texas senate aide, who he later recommended be hired by Paul. Though he has not commented publicly about the affair, Paxton allegedly told members of his senior staff in 2018. Later, Paxton said the affair was over, and he was “recommitted” to his wife State Senator Angela Paxton.
For now, Paxton is adamant that he will not resign. Notably, the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News, by far the state’s most conservative daily, has called for his resignation. Paxton is on the ballot in 2022, and Republicans in Texas are already trying to cajole current Land Commissioner George P. Bush to run for AG.
Despite the recent controversy, Paxton is maintaining a robust schedule as Texas AG. He led the charge in a Supreme Court case attempting to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He also took a victory lap last week, when the US Court Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas, which asked that the healthcare provider be removed from a Medicaid fund.
Paxton is also currently a part of a group of attorneys general that are trying to declare DACA unlawful and wind down the program through a federal judge in Brownsville. In June, the Supreme Court did not decide on the legality of DACA, but they did find the Trump administration had not properly calculated the impact of terminating the program for Dreamers. A hearing is scheduled with U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville for December 22.
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