Ethics probe slams GOP attorney general’s crimes and corruption

A GOP-led investigation of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (photo, left), a Republican, accused him of “committing multiple crimes in office — including felonies — during an extraordinary public airing of scandal and alleged lawbreaking that plunged one of the GOP’s conservative stars into new political and legal risk,” the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 (read story here).

Paxton, already indicted for securities fraud, has been protected by the Republicans who control Texas’s state government until now. But during Wednesday’s public airing of their dirty laundry, “For more than three hours, investigators presented findings alleging Paxton sought to hide an affair, misused his office to help a donor, skirted protocols ‘grossly outside’ norms and built a culture of fear and retaliation in his office.”

The investigators also said “there was evidence that Paxton repeatedly broke the law over the years, including by misusing official information, abusing his official capacity and retaliation.”

The investigating committee recommended impeaching Paxton (see story here), and the Associated Press said “Wednesday’s hearing amounted to a remarkable rebuke from Republicans.” Even so, afterwards GOP legislators were silent about whether they’ll take any action against him. They may care more about how he wields power than his criminality.

Paxton has used his power as Texas’s top legal officer to attack abortion rights, defend gerrymandering, restrict voting rights, sue to overturn Obamacare, fight Covid-19 safety measures, challenge DACA and climate change initiatives in court, fight against overtime pay for workers, harass LGBQT people, defend unrestricted gun rights, support religion in public schools, and — most infamously — sue to overturn the 2020 presidential election rights (see details here).

In short, liberals everywhere — not just in Texas — would be happy to see Paxton bounced out of office. But Texas Republicans are notorious for their partisanship and support of bad actors who promote their agenda, so we’ll have to wait and see what if anything happens as a result of this to someone who’s been known for many years to be a bad actor in countless ways.

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