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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been on the job for nearly a decade, and he has faced legal trouble or other scandals for most of that time, beginning with an indictment on felony securities fraud charges in 2015. Until now, the Texas GOP has always looked the other way or shielded him from consequences.
That all changed yesterday, when the Texas House General Investigating Committee unanimously recommended to impeach him — and not just over one thing. Overall, there are 20 articles of impeachment.
Now, the question is whether Texas House Republicans, who have an 86-64 majority in the chamber, will actually vote to impeach Paxton.
However, with his political career hanging in the balance, the Texas attorney general still had time for a lesson in irony.
“Texas faces a critical moment for the rule of law and the will of Texas voters,” Paxton said in a statement following the news that the panel had recommended impeachment. Pointing to the number of votes he got in the GOP primary and the general election, he added that “only months ago, Texans went to the polls and made this choice.”
The irony is, of course, that Paxton led an effort to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
He petitioned the Supreme Court to disregard the results of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan, and to allow the Republican-led state legislatures to reverse the outcome.
In other words, he wanted the Supreme Court to ignore the rule of law and the will of voters.
The Supreme Court did not bother with the lawsuit, noting that Paxton lacked standing.
Since then, the attorney general’s thinking on the will of the voters seems to have evolved considerably.
“It is a sad day for Texas as we witness the corrupt political establishment unite in this illegitimate attempt to overthrow the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of our state,” Paxton said in his statement.
The impeachment recommendation does set up a fight between the more moderate Republicans in the state House and the not-at-all moderates of the Texas Republican Party.
The latter fired a warning shot earlier today and issued a strongly worded statement blasting the Texas House Republicans.
“The impeachment proceedings against the Attorney General are but the latest front in the Texas House’s war against Republicans to stop the conservative direction of our state,” said Texas GOP chairman Matt Rinaldi, who expressed hope that, even if Paxton is impeached, the state Senate will “restore sanity and reason for our state.”
Time to get out the brisket-flavored popcorn.