A Texas House of Representatives committee adopted a 20 article article of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday.
The House Public Inquiry Committee’s decision comes a day after the committee heard from investigators who were shown a long list of Paxton’s alleged illegal actions aimed at protecting a political donor.
“After some time for your review and reflections, I intend to call upon a resolution adopting the Articles of Impeachment,” House Speaker Andrew Elmer, R-Junction, told members of the House Thursday night.
It is unclear when the full House of Representatives will vote on the impeachment resolution. The last day of the legislative session is Monday.
If the House votes to remove the plaintiff, the Republican attorney general will be suspended from his role pending action from the Texas Senate.
the Dismissal articles They include disregard for official duty, misuse of public resources, constitutional bribery, and obstruction of justice.
The committee’s decision to move to impeach comes after four House-appointed investigators revealed Wednesday that they had uncovered evidence of multiple violations of the law and Paxton’s oath of office, including abuse of official capacity, misuse of official information, retaliation and official oppression.
Many of the allegations were previously known, but Wednesday marked the first time they were discussed publicly and in such detail.
Paxton has strongly denied the allegations.
In a statement posted to his Twitter account Thursday, Paxton said the Texas House was trying to “overturn” his 2022 re-election results.
He also criticized the investigation, saying that “the process provided no opportunity for rebuttal or due process.”
The committee’s decision comes as part of a months-long investigation into Paxton’s settlement of a lawsuit brought by four employees-turned-whistleblowers who were fired in 2020 after filing and reporting charges about Republican crimes.
HAPPENING NOW: The military sergeant at the Texas House hands over a decision of impeachment to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as well as a transcript of the hearing minutes. #txlege pic.twitter.com/Ii0hLIGyJJ
– Sergio Martinez Beltrán (@SergioMarBel) May 26, 2023
Most of the alleged illegal actions involved Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, who made a $25,000 contribution to Paxton’s campaign. The FBI was investigating Paul and investigators say Paxton tried to use his office to interfere with the investigation.
Paxton also hired an outside attorney—ignoring agency protocols—to file Investigators said it was a grand jury subpoena to aid Paul in his fight against the federal government.
State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburgh, told the Texas Newsroom that there is enough evidence to impeach Paxton.
“I will tell you that after hearing the amount of evidence they heard, we would be negligent in our duty not to do so,” said Canales, who attended the hearing.
But Paxton’s allies defended him.
Before Thursday’s hearing, Paxton’s head of public litigation, Chris Hilton, told reporters that the investigation was “unlawful.”
“Any discussion of impeachment is strictly prohibited under Texas law,” Hilton said. “Any proposed impeachment can only relate to conduct since the last election — voters have spoken, and they want Ken Paxton.”
But Texas law only says that government officials cannot be prosecuted “for acts committed prior to an election to office,” and it’s not specific about which election applies.
Hilton appeared at the committee hearing and unsuccessfully attempted to register to testify.
According to House rules, no public or proxy testimony may be taken during an official meeting.
In an interview with reporters, Hilton accused the commission of not inviting the Attorney General’s Office to participate in the investigation.
When asked by reporters about Paxton’s whereabouts, Hilton said, “I’m not going to speak for the attorney general… I’m not going to talk about his personal whereabouts.”
Hilton abruptly left shortly thereafter. Reporters were prevented from following Hilton by a man in plain clothes.
During a Facebook live broadcast, Rep. Steve Toth, R-Woodlands Republican, also called the impeachment move “illegal” and noted that it was a political move supported by members of the GOP.
“We shouldn’t be dodging right now, we shouldn’t be fighting each other now, we shouldn’t be doing in the Texas House what the Democrats failed to do in the voting booth,” Toth said.