AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A group of fourteen attorneys filed a complaint with the State Bar of Texas Monday, asking the legal regulatory body to investigate the criminal allegations facing suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton and seeking possible disbarment.
“Paxton’s conduct is so egregious that the State Bar has no real option other than moving forward with the inquiry into disbarring Paxton. His conduct is shameful, illegal, and unethical,” complainant attorney Jim Harrington said. “No attorney in the State of Texas should be allowed to practice law with a record of this kind of nefarious conduct. The Texas House of Representatives decided that the information was serious enough to remove Paxton from office. The State Bar is duty-bound to investigate and take appropriate action, which we would consider to be disbarment.”
Paxton was impeached in the Texas House of Representatives in May for allegations of criminal conduct including bribery, perjury, and fraud. He now faces possible removal from office if the Texas Senate convicts him on any of the articles of impeachment.
The attorneys filing the complaint Monday, including three former presidents of the State Bar, argue Paxton ought to be prevented from practicing law entirely, regardless of the outcome in the legislature.
The complaint cites the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct, which defines standards for licensed lawyers in the state.
“Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens,” the TRPC states in Rule 8.04, Comment 4. “A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney.”
Paxton’s camp rejected the grievance as “baseless” and “not surprising.”
“Meritless complaints like these will have no impact on his commitment to defend the rule of law and our constitutional rights,” Paxton attorney Chris Hilton said.
The Attorney General of Texas does not need to be a licensed attorney by law. However, Paxton would need to delegate certain responsibilities of the office to licensed attorneys in his office should he be disbarred.
It is not yet clear whether the State Bar will pursue an investigation of Paxton’s impeachment charges. Nexstar has contacted the Bar for confirmation.