Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may be removed from office following the results of an investigation into alleged misconduct.
The Republican-led House Committee of General Investigating unanimously voted Thursday to recommend impeaching the state’s top lawyer on 20 articles, including bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust, the Texas Tribune reported.
Paxton was already under felony indictment for securities fraud since 2015, the year he became attorney general.
If the House approves impeachment, Paxton would have to leave his position immediately. The House could vote on Paxton's impeachment as soon as Friday.
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The FBI launched an investigation in Paxton's activities after he was accused of using his power to help wealthy Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, a friend and campaign donor, in a legal fight with a nonprofit organization.
In exchange for that aid, according to investigators, Paul helped with a “floor-to-ceiling renovation” at Paxton’s home and employed a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an extramarital affair, The Washington Post reported.
The committee on Wednesday said Paxton abused his official capacity, misused official information and retaliated against whistleblowers who had accused him of corruption in 2020.
Aides who reported Paxton to the FBI for corruption in 2020 were subsequently fired or quit.
Four sued Texas under whistleblower laws and accused Paxton of wrongful retaliation. They accepted a $3.3 million settlement earlier this year.
Impeachment in Texas requires a majority vote in the 150-member House chamber, where Republicans hold an 85-64 majority, the outlet said.
If impeached, Paxton's removal would need two-thirds support in the Senate, where his wife, Angela Paxton, is a member.
When news of the committee's investigation surfaced, Paxton accused the House speaker, Dade Phelan, a Republican, of political motives and called for his resignation.
In a statement Thursday, Paxton called the investigation "unsubstantiated."
"This process provided no opportunity for rebuttal or due process," said Paxton, who secured a third term in November.
Paxton tweeted that the allegations against him were based on “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims” and being championed by “RINOs” — Republicans in name only.
"They even refused to allow a senior attorney from my office to provide the facts," he added. "They rejected every attempt to seek a full accounting of the truth."
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