House GOP Leaders Hand Paxton and Allies
Major Weapon with Impeachment Cost Stall
November 15, 2023
Texas House GOP leaders are giving enemies a potentially lethal weapon to use against them and other Republican representatives in 2024 re-election races if they plan to keep the amount they spent on a failed bid to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton hidden from the taxpayers until after the primary vote in March.
Speaker Dade Phelan's team is gambling that the pounding they would take for the next three months with a full-court stall will be easier to survive than the embarrassment they could have in store once the public learns how much they shelled out for an impeachment that turned out to be an epic waste of time and money.
The major source of embarrassment is expected to come from the sum of public funds that they have been or will be paid for the services of legendary lawyers in Rusty Hardin and Dick DeGuerin as the lead counsel for House impeachment managers in the Paxton case. The three-time elected attorney general was acquitted in the Senate on September 16 on all of 16 charges of corruption that they House voted to pursue in the spring.
GOP State Rep. Andrew Murr of Junction appears to be the most responsible for the ongoing delay as the General Investigating Committee chairman who Phelan selected to direct a group of House managers who he also appointed to prosecute the historic case. Murr's staff said last month that the House was waiting for the two famous private attorneys to submit their bills for four months of work on the case. But the Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday that DeGuerin and Hardin had tendered invoices to the House.
The failure to report the impeachment expenses for two full months after the verdict flies in the face of a statement that DeGuerin made after he and Hardin were enlisted for the case immediately after the House vote to impeach on May 27.
“The people of the state of Texas are entitled to know whether their top cop is a crook,” DeGuerin said at the time. “We know the importance of transparency in these proceedings because the people have a right to know.”
Incumbent House Republicans already are facing a record number of primary challengers with three more weeks for candidates to file to run in Texas next year.
Paxton is vigorously support close to two dozen candidates who will be running to the right of Republicans who tried to take him out and failed.
"Today is day 59 since @DanPatrick requested disclosure for total cost of the sham impeachment," Paxton said Tuesday night in a post on X. "The house is refusing to be transparent about the cost of the impeachment. When will the house be honest with the taxpayers?"
House leaders embraced a Sam Houston quote that Murr repeated numerous times as the mantra for the impeachment. Murr thought he could bolster the case with famous lawyers. That proved to be a monumental mistake when Hardin and DeGuerin were shockingly ineffective at the trial as a pair of attorneys who are in their early 80s and appeared lost in a novel setting that was unfamiliar to them.
Hardin promised that the allegations against Paxton would "blow your mind" after signing on three months before the trial. "I promise you it is 10 times worse than what has been public,” Hardin said at a press conference.
DeGuerin seconded the statement. "The evidence is as strong as horseradish," DeGuerin said. "Rusty is right about that. It’s worse than the public knows,”
more to come ...