In the midst of an FBI investigation into allegations of abuse of office and bribery, Attorney General Ken Paxton has maintained he did nothing wrong. Now, a group of whistleblowers that were fired from his office are speaking out for the first time against their former boss.
The whistleblowers were ousted from the attorney general’s office after they raised concerns about Paxton’s relationship with wealthy GOP donor Nate Paul. 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.
In 2020, seven members of Paxton’s staff reported their concerns to federal authorities. All of those aides were subsequently fired, resigned, or placed on leave. Four of those fired aides then filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton.
Earlier this week, those four whistleblowers issued a joint statement, the first time they have spoken publicly since being fired from the attorney general’s office. According to them, they felt “obligated” to speak out after a series of “misleading” statements from Paxton.
“The most basic qualifications of an attorney general are respect for truth and respect for the law. Ken Paxton has neither,” said the whistleblowers. “The day will come when Ken Paxton must testify under oath about his and his agency’s actions. Until then, we call on Ken Paxton to start telling the truth to the people of Texas.”
Paxton has vigorously denied the charges the whistleblowers have alleged stemming from his incident with Paul. Paxton has criticized the whistleblowers on numerous occasions, including on Texas Scorecard where he alleged the FBI had “infiltrated” his office. He even had his own office issue a report that topped over 350 pages exonerating him from any wrongdoing.
Paxton also attempted to get the whistleblower lawsuit dismissed, but a state appeals court rejected that request. The FBI investigation into Paxton also appears to be ongoing.
Though Paxton appears to be in a legal quagmire, Republican voters in Texas don’t seem to care. He faces several challengers in the Republican primary, including Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, but polls show Paxton on top. It’s possible he could even win over fifty percent of the vote and avoid a runoff.On a separate legal front, Ken Paxton was indicted by a grand jury for federal securities fraud seven years ago. A trial date has yet to be set as the case has bounced around several courts throughout the state since the initial indictment.
Original photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons