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Texas AG Ken Paxton Having *Slightly* Better Week Than Trump
But not a lot better.
Let's take a break from laughing at Donald Trump's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week to laugh at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
You will recall that Paxton, a Republican, has been impeached by the Texas House — a whole bunch of Republicans — for allegedly taking bribes from real estate developer Nate Paul. Paxton was sued by members of his own staff whom he fired after they blew the whistle on him abusing his position to benefit Paul. He reached a $3.3 million settlement to stop the charges being aired in court, but that money had to be appropriated by the Legislature, which instead launched the investigation that led to the impeachment.
It cannot have been welcome news to Paxton that Paul was indicted last week in the Western District of Texas on eight counts of making false financial statements. (Who among us hasn't told a bank that we had $31.6 million on hand when the actual figure was less than $500,000?) And as The Dallas Morning News notes, Paul's indictment makes no mention of Paxton at all, suggesting that the FBI intends to flip Paul to get at the AG:
Paxton, who is also under FBI investigation , is not mentioned in the indictment. In a statement Friday, Paxton defense attorney Tony Buzbee said the indictment have “nothing whatsoever” to do with his client.
“The charges against Paul evidently have nothing to do with Attorney General Ken Paxton,” he said. “That should speak volumes as to how weak this impeachment effort is."
However, another member of the attorney general’s defense team told The Dallas Morning News on Thursday that he believes the FBI is going to try to get Paul to turn on Paxton.
“You don’t have to be Nostradamus to assume that they’re going to try to flip Nate Paul to testify against Ken [Paxton]. I don’t know that for a fact. But I’d be very surprised if that wasn’t the case,” Dan Cogdell said . “Because otherwise, you know, logically [the FBI] would have arrested them both at the same time.”
Paxton has also been facing state charges for securities fraud for years now. In fact, his efforts to duck those charges through procedural flimflammery formed the basis of multiple impeachment counts. And on that front, he got some further bad news this week as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals returned the securities case to Houston. Paxton was indicted in Collin County in 2015, but prosecutors removed the case citing Paxton's popularity in the jurisdiction which he'd represented in the Legislature for 10 years. This latest ruling reversed an intermediate appellate court which pushed the trial back to Collin County — a mere eight years after the original indictment.
But it wasn't all bad news for Paxton. Or, perhaps it's more accurate to say that news reports today reveal some of the ways that Paxton benefits from the rank corruption that permeates the Texas GOP. The Houston Chronicle combed through campaign finance data and discovered that Paxton's campaign owes $125,000 to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. In his role as president of the Senate, Patrick will preside over the impeachment trial later this summer. Furthermore, the Chronicle discovered that Paxton's wife Angela, a state senator herself, owes $600,000 to her husband's campaign.
Naturally, neither Patrick nor Mrs. P has recused from the impeachment hearing, where two-thirds of the 31-member body will have to vote to convict if Paxton is to be permanently removed from office. So, you know, it isn't all bad news for that filthy sumbitch. But to the extent that these revelations bolster the idea that Paxton has become a political liability for the Texas GOP, that Republicans should finally cast him out for indiscretions which have been public for years, that he makes them all look extraordinarily corrupt — well, it's probably not helping his cause.
Couldn't happen to a more deserving criminal.
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