Yesterday the Texas State Senate was set to discuss rules for the upcoming impeachment trial of Ken Paxton, the embattled Attorney General who is currently suspended. The news of procedural maneuvers was perhaps overshadowed by the first statement from his wife, State Senator Angela Paxton, about the upcoming trial.
Angela Paxton said she would fulfill her “duties” and attend but gave no indication whether or not she would recuse herself (even though she is a likely witness). Several legal experts have noted that the state’s laws mandate that all state senators be present for impeachment trial. However, that does not mean Angela Paxton has to vote in it.
For Angela Paxton, potentially participating on behalf of her embattled husband is nothing new, in fact it’s been a hallmark of her career. The two met at Baylor University, where Paxton was the student body president.
Ken Paxton would go on to serve in both the Texas House and Texas Senate before throwing in his hat into the Republican primary for Attorney General in 2014 (the current incumbent Greg Abbott was running for governor). Ken Paxton rode a Tea Party Wave into the Republican runoff and defeated the far more “establishment” Dan Branch from Dallas.
Just a few months after he took office in 2015, Ken Paxton was indicted on felony securities fraud. That case has bounced around the courts for over eight years, but it finally looks like a trial will take place in Harris County.
In 2019, Angela Paxton ran for the same state senate seat once held by her husband after the incumbent Van Taylor opted to run for congress. Paxton very narrowly defeated Democrat Mark Phariss with just under 52 percent of the vote. Almost immediately Angela Paxton made headlines when she introduced a bill that would allow the Attorney General’s office to provide exemptions for the very securities infraction her husband had just been indicted for.
That move showed just how intertwined Ken and Angela Paxton would become. On January 6, she was standing next to him as he delivered his remarks in Washington just before the Insurrection. In a metaphorical sense, Angela remained by his side as allegations about an affair between himself and a staff member of another Republican state senator emerged.
Last month, the Texas State House filed twenty articles of impeachment against Ken Paxton, that included bribery and abuse of office. Testimony was heard about his improper relationship with Austin businessman and GOP donor Nate Paul, who allegedly hired the woman Paxton was having an affair with and was given access to certain FBI files regarding investigations into his businesses.
The impeachment testimony also included descriptions about remodeling work done to the Paxton home that Paul allegedly provided. Paul was arrested earlier this month and charged with eight felony federal counts.
If Angela Paxton does end up voting in her husband’s Senate impeachment trial, the ethical implications would be mind-boggling, but not surprising given her past conduct with her spouse, and current suspended Texas Attorney General. As he awaits his trial, Ken Paxton has been busy on social media trying to garner donations to fight back against the “kangaroo court” of “RINOs and far-left radicals.”
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).