AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will not be resigning after several of his top aides accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other potential criminal offenses.
Over the weekend, the Austin-American Statesman obtained a letter from seven of his aides, which called for an investigation and read in part, “We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses.”
In response to the report on Saturday, Paxton’s office said, in part, “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.”
Paxton expanded on Monday with a longer statement, calling the aides who sent the letter, “rogue employees.”
This is not the first time Paxton has been accused of breaking the law.
Special Prosecutor Kent Schaffer was not surprised when he heard the new allegations over the weekend.
“I’m the prosecutor that has been prosecuting him for five years on fraud-based offenses. So you know, I’m not shocked,” Schaffer said.
Back in 2015, Paxton was indicted on securities fraud charges, Schaffer explained, “Mr. Paxton is indicted on two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to register as an investment advisor. So these cases were indicted, you know, four to five years ago.”
The case is still ongoing now, due in part to pay disputes and court changes.
“It’s just dragged on for years with all these legal maneuvers. And we’re still in one today, where the defense is trying to move the case from Houston to Collin County,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer explained how the new allegations could affect Paxton.
“If you assume that they’re true, and it’s proven that they’re true, it could affect his bond. Because when you’re out on a felony bond, if you commit a new offense, you could be all without bond,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer said it could also affect his punishment.
“If he’s convicted, in our cases, jury would find out about other fraudulent acts that he engaged in or wrongful acts,” Schaffer continued.
The Governor responded to the allegations over the weekend, stating:
These allegations raise serious concerns. I will withhold further comment until the results of any investigation are complete.Gov. Greg Abbott, (R) Texas
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued a similar statement to KXAN on Monday:
I learned about this from media reports. These issues are obviously concerning. I will wait until the investigation is complete before making any additional comments.Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, (R) Texas
The Texas Democratic Party responded to the new allegations Monday, which read in part:
Rooting out corruption is on the ballot and every Texan will know about indicted Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas Republicans’ corrupt abuses of power and the dire consequences for all of us. One can only wonder what scandal the Texas Republican Party and its members will have next.Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia
But Democrats aren’t the only ones criticizing him.
Republican Congressman Chip Roy, who used to work under Paxton as his First Assistant, called for Paxton’s resignation Monday.
In part, his statement read, “The allegations of bribery, abuse of office, and other charges levied against him by at least 7 senior leaders of the Office of the Attorney General are more than troubling on the merits. But, any grace for him to resolve differences and demonstrate if the allegations are false was eliminated by his choice instead to attack the very people entrusted, by him, to lead the office – some of whom I know well and whose character are beyond reproach.”
Congressman Roy continued on to say, “The Attorney General deserves his days in court, but the people of Texas deserve a fully functioning AG’s office.”
“If the person who’s calling for for him to resign knows about the inner workings of the office and may be privy to information about the case, that might be something that Mr. Paxton considers,” Schaffer said.