ICYMI: Indicted Texas AG Ken Paxton’s Bad Behavior In The Spotlight (Again)

March 30, 2021

In case you missed it, recent reporting by several Texas outlets has captured indicted Texas AG Ken Paxton’s most recent bad behavior. Here is a quick update on the recent developments: Paxton, who is under FBI investigation, already under federal indictment, and being sued by multiple whistleblowers for potential retaliatory action, is now refusing to release the emails and texts he sent or received while he attended and spoke in Washington D.C. for the January 6th rally turned deadly insurrection. 1. According to a joint reporting effort by the Austin American-Statesman, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, ProPublica and the Texas TribunePaxton’s office is attempting to withhold all messages that Paxton sent or received while in Washington D.C. for the January 6th rally that turned into a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol leaving five people dead. These six news outlets also found that Paxton’s office, which is supposed to enforce the state’s open record laws, has no policy governing the release of work-related messages stored on Paxton’s personal devices.
  • Paxton has also refused to answer questions about who paid for his trip to Washington D.C. In response to a question at a recent legislative hearing about whether he spent any taxpayer money he responded, “I didn’t spend money personally. I had a state purpose. The next day I had meetings at the White House … That’s how I spent most of my time.”
This new information comes after Republican Attorneys General have continued to deny that they, their senior staff, or the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) had any involvement in promoting the January 6th rally that became a deadly insurrection. However, multiple reports show that Republican AGs, like Ken Paxton and RAGA, played a major role in trying to overturn a free and fair election—contributing to the violence that took place in our nation’s capital on January 6th. 2. Additional reporting also shows that Paxton appears to be targeting people of color at disproportionate rates. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “at least 72% of election fraud cases brought by the attorney general’s office have targeted Black and Latino defendants, most of them women.”
  • Taylor Goldenstein a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle said, “they looked at the areas the defendants came from and found that 86% of the prosecutions involved offenses that allegedly happened in counties with mostly nonwhite and Latino populations.”
This reporting comes as Texas Republicans have rolled out an “avalanche” of bills to curtail voting in Texas. These bills are just another attempt to disenfranchise voters, particularly voters of color. 3. Furthermore, the Austin American-Statesman recently reported that a state judge rejected an attempt to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former executives in Paxton’s office who said they were fired in retaliation for accusing Paxton of misconduct.
  • The report states that the former executives claim they were improperly fired after meeting with FBI agents to report allegations that Paxton was misusing his powers as Attorney General to help Austin businessman Nate Paul. A total of eight top executives have accused Paxton of impropriety and all either resigned or were fired.
All of this bad behavior and misconduct comes as Paxton is under indictment for multiple felonies. As he prepares for re-election, there is no doubt Paxton is a weakened candidate and even on the outs with his own party. Paxton managed to scrape by in 2018, but there is no doubt these recent corrupt and unethical actions will have Texas voters seeking a true people’s lawyer—making Texas’ Attorney General race a top battleground in 2022. For more on Paxton and the scrutiny he has faced both in and out of Texas, read more here.