Ken Paxton Proclaims Innocence with Pledge
to Keep Job in the Face of Pressure to Leave
Texas 2020 Campaign Rankings
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
October 6, 2020
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insisted on Tuesday that he will not resign as the state's top lawyer despite demands for his head from some fellow Republicans after being accused of bribery and other criminal activity by seven of his highest ranking assistants.
“Despite the effort by rogue employees and their false allegations I will continue to seek justice in Texas and will not be resigning,” Paxton vowed.
But Paxton's political future appears to be in grave danger in the midst of a highly-coordinated mutiny at the state agency that he leads with a statewide position that he'd envisioned as a stepping stone to the job that his longtime ally Governor Greg Abbott holds now.
Paxton's top aide and six deputies who head various divisions at the AG's office have told federal law enforcement officials that their boss was on the take when he appointed a special prosecutor to seek grand jury indictments against a major donor's business rivals. The contribution at the center of the latest Paxton scandal is Nate Paul - an Austin investor whose offices were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a year ago.
Paxton has been under indictment on state securities fraud charges since 2015 in a case that he's blamed on political skullduggery with a former GOP lawmaker who'd been an enemy in the Texas House when the two served together there. Paxton served 10 years in the west wing of the statehouse before a promotion to the Senate in 2012. A Collin County resident at the time, Paxton was elected to his current post two years later and won a second term in 2018 despite the lingering criminal cloud.
After staying mum on Paxton's personal problems up to now, Abbott acknowledged on Monday that the new allegations raise serious concerns.
The governor would appoint a successor if Paxton stepped down before his term ends two years from now. Abbott presumably would choose a replacement attorney general who would run for the job in 2022 if it opened up prematurely.
The Houston Chronicle identified Paul as the central figure in the new Paxton case on Monday before calling for the attorney general's resignation in an editorial today.
"While judgment on the truth of these stunning claims and counter-claims would be premature, clearly something is very, very wrong inside the attorney general’s office," the Houston newspaper warned.
"We say enough. Enough excuses. Enough distractions. Enough taint at what should be a respected Texas institution trusted to uphold, and practice, the rule of law."
more to come ...