Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faces impeachment on Saturday after years of investigations.
A Republican-led Texas House probe on Wednesday accused the scandal-prone attorney general with strong links to former President Donald Trump and Governor Greg Abbott of breaching various laws while in office.
The committee investigating him submitted 20 articles of impeachment on Thursday, including bribery, obstruction of justice, falsifying official documents, and unfitness for office.
Paxton denies the charges and calls the proceedings a “illegal impeachment scheme.”
“They have denied me the opportunity to present the evidence which contradicts their politically motivated narrative,” Paxton said in a press conference Friday.
Paxton representatives didn’t reply to Insider’s request for comment.
“Paxton is crooked.”
Since becoming attorney general in 2015, Paxton has been indicted and investigated. In Texas, activist and political strategist Olivia Julianna, who Paxton banned on Twitter, told Insider that “Ken Paxton and crooked are synonymous.”
After promising to stop banning critics in a First Amendment case, Paxton blacklisted the activist who openly challenged his FBI inquiry.
“He’s always been shrouded in some kind of criminal conspiracy or criminal controversy,” Julianna told Insider. “So it’s not surprising in the slightest that we’ve gotten to this point now where he’s starting to feel the flames on his feet, because the higher they are, the harder they fall.”
Letter and FBI inquiry
The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV received a 2020 letter from Paxton’s employees reporting their boss to the FBI. Staff members wrote that Paxton may have committed severe crimes, including bribery, to help friend and political donor Nate Paul when the FBI searched Paul’s house in 2019. Investigators did not explain the raid.
After the raid, Paxton hired an independent counsel to investigate the FBI on Paul’s behalf.
There were also charges that Paxton had exploited his authority to aid Paul in his real estate operations and that Paul had recruited Paxton’s mistress as a favor. Paxton and Paul refuted these claims.
The letter prompted an FBI inquiry into the attorney general’s office use. In February, Paxton resolved a lawsuit by whistleblowers who were dismissed by him.
Taxpayer-funded lawsuit settlement
In February, Paxton asked the Texas House Appropriations panel to raise the attorney general’s budget to pay out four former workers’ $3.3 million settlement. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan called it a waste of taxpayer money.
A spokesman informed The New York Times that Phelan led a House Investigation into Paxton’s charges after the funding request.
After Paxton demanded Phelan’s resignation for being inebriated on the House floor, they delivered their findings on Wednesday.
“But for Paxton’s own request for a taxpayer-funded settlement over his wrongful conduct,” Phelan said Friday in announcing Saturday’s impeachment resolution vote.
Julianna told Insider that House Republicans’ impeachment of Paxton is more about political strategy than accountability as the Texas Republican party splits.
“I think it’s that Ken Paxton antagonized the wrong people knowing that he had a lot of skeletons in his closet,” Julianna added.
Paxton’s impeachment vote is Saturday. If it passes, he will be suspended immediately while the Senate decides.