The decade's most triggering comedy
The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton strongly pushed back Friday afternoon on attempts by some Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives to impeach him, saying that the articles of impeachment were so weak that if they were filed in court they would likely be dismissed.
News that the state House had been investigating Paxton was made public on Tuesday — the same day that Paxton called on House Speaker Dade Phelan, who is friendly with the Left, to resign after video emerged allegedly showing him“in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication” on the House floor.
Two days later, 20 articles of impeachment were filed against Paxton.
BREAKING: I have obtained over 6 minutes of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan being either drunk or having mini strokes while presiding over the Texas House of Reps. pic.twitter.com/4SOXmT7SHA
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 24, 2023
Impeachment proceedings are set to begin on Saturday.
Paxton’s shot at Phelan came the same day that news broke that the House Committee on General Investigating was probing Paxton’s attempt to settle a 2020 lawsuit using an alleged $3.3 million in public money. As part of its investigation, the committee has subpoenaed Paxton’s office for records.
Four former employees of the attorney general’s office brought the suit in 2020, claiming they were retaliated against after accusing Paxton of corruption. The state legislature refused to fund the settlement, so the case continues to work its way through the courts.
Paxton issued a lengthy rebuttal to the articles of impeachment, urging members to reject them due to “numerous failures,” ranging from not substantiating claims to not understanding his role as attorney general.
For example, on the first article of impeachment — Disregard of Official Duty — Protection of Charitable Organization — Paxton’s office writes:
The Articles of Impeachment imply that the Attorney General is legally required to “act as [the] public protector of charitable organizations.” He is not. He is required to protect the public from illegal conduct by charitable organizations. Hence why he is constitutionally authorized to investigate those organizations (see Tex. Const. art. IV, § 22). Likewise, section 123.002 of the Texas Property Code provides that the Attorney General is to act “for the behalf of the interest of the general public of this state.” The Office of the Attorney General initially sued the Mitte Foundation in 2009—before General Paxton’s election—to protect the public’s interests.
Paxton’s office continued by offering strong pushback to the other Articles of Impeachment, including II. Disregard of Official Duty—Abuse of the Opinion Process, III. Disregard of Official Duty—Abuse of the Open Records Process, IV. Disregard of Official Duty—Misuse of Official Information, V. Disregard of Official Duty—Engagement of Cammack, VI. Disregard of Official Duty—Termination of Whistleblowers, VII. Misapplication of Public Resources—Whistleblower Investigation and Report, VIII. Disregard of Official Duty—Settlement Agreement Similarly, IX. Constitutional Bribery—Paul’s Employment of Mistress, X. Constitutional Bribery—Paul’s Providing Renovations to Paxton Home, XI. Obstruction of Justice—Abuse of Judicial Process, XII. Obstruction of Justice—Abuse of Judicial Process, XIII. False Statements in Official Records—State Securities Board Investigation, XIV. False Statements in Official Records—Personal Financial Statements, XV. False Statements in Official Records—Whistleblower Response Report, XVI. Counts XVI through XX—Conspiracy and Attempted Conspiracy; Misappropriation of Public Resources; Dereliction of Duty; Unfitness for Office; Abuse of Public Trust.
Tim Pearce contributed to this report.