Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has been accused of criminal activity including bribery and abuse of his office by seven people who have served in top roles in the state Attorney General’s office. According to a letter that the top aides sent to the office’s director of human resources, they have requested a (reportedly federal) investigation into their allegations against Paxton. In this letter, the signatories neither identified the federal agency that they contacted nor provided many details about their allegations, but they said that each of them have “knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses,” and they added that they notified Paxton via text message of their contact with federal law enforcement.
BREAKING: Texas Attorney Ken Paxton took bribes, abused office, executives in his office say https://t.co/HZ1P0ZgTd8
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) October 3, 2020
‘This letter is intended to serve as notice to the Office of the Attorney General that on September 30, 2020, we, the undersigned individuals, reported to an appropriate law enforcement authority a potential violation of law committed by Warren K. Paxton, Jr., in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas. We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses. Each signatory below has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement authority.’
Check out the letter below:
NEW: This is the letter sent by 7 top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleging the state’s top lawyer has committed multiple criminal violations. @statesman @KVUE. pic.twitter.com/1qNv290tJm
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) October 4, 2020
The letter’s signatories include Paxton’s first assistant, Jeff Mateer, who recently resigned, and Mateer’s deputy Ryan Bangert. The signatories also include James Blake Brickman, Lacey Mase, Darren McCarty, Mark Penley and Ryan Vassar, who serve as deputy state attorneys general and are responsible for the divisions of policy, administration, civil litigation, criminal investigations, and legal counsel, respectively. In other words — it’s not just random passersby who are responsible for the allegations. It’s a group including five deputy attorneys general.
Paxton’s team alleges that the complaint that the new letter reveals was an act of political scheming. In a late Saturday statement, his office insisted:
‘The complaint filed against Attorney General Paxton was done to impede an ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing by public officials including employees of this office. Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law.’
It is unclear what evidence that Paxton may have of this alleged nefarious intent behind the new criminal complaint against him. His office does not seem to have provided any evidence.
Paxton has also spearheaded the litigation to tear down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, currently pending at the US Supreme Court – a case backed by congressional Republicans and the Trump admin.
— Steve Benen (@stevebenen) October 4, 2020
Paxton — who is also the co-chairperson of a group called Lawyers for Trump, which is an official affiliate of the Trump campaign — has faced legal trouble in the past.
In 2015, he was hit with three felony charges, including two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to appropriately register with state securities regulators. The securities fraud charges, which are first-degree felonies, are “related to Paxton’s efforts to solicit investors in Servergy Inc. without revealing that the McKinney tech company was paying him for the work,” the Austin-American Statesman reports. Amidst an array of legal wrangling, a trial date has yet to be set in the case.