Texas Panel Files Articles of Impeachment Against Attorney General Ken Paxton

The investigation began in March, after Mr. Paxton, who is also under indictment for securities fraud, had apparently succeeded in putting at least one of his legal troubles behind him. He had agreed to a $3.3 million settlement with four of his top aides who had sued him, accusing him of corruption and retaliation.

Mr. Paxton had asked the Texas Legislature for the funds to pay the settlement. But Mr. Phelan, the House speaker, did not support that use of state money, and said he felt that Mr. Paxton had not sufficiently explained why the state should finance the settlement. The House investigation into the allegations was begun in order to gather information about the funding request, Mr. Phelan’s spokeswoman said.

For two days this week, as the committee’s investigation neared its conclusion, Mr. Paxton hurled accusations against Mr. Phelan, and claimed that the speaker presided over a House session last week while drunk. Mr. Paxton based his accusation on a video that circulated among hard-right activists who blame Mr. Phelan for the failure of various pieces of conservative legislation in the House.

Much of what was presented to the committee about Mr. Paxton was already known publicly from the allegations made in the aides’ lawsuit. The aides also took their complaints about Mr. Paxton to the F.B.I., which is still investigating.

The vote on Thursday rendered the first official judgment on those allegations, finding them sufficient to begin the process of removing Mr. Paxton from office.

The committee also voted to issue letters to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Facilities Commission, which manages state property, “to ensure that all evidence relevant to the committee’s inquiry” would not be “destroyed or concealed,” said Mr. Murr, the committee chairman.

The impeachment vote was the second time this year that the committee had recommended the removal of an elected official from office. The first involved a Republican state representative, Bryan Slaton; a committee investigation found that he had slept with a 19-year-old staff member after serving her alcohol.

Mr. Slaton resigned shortly after. The House then voted unanimously to formally expel him, and prevent him from holding office in the future.

David Montgomery contributed reporting.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

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