In a letter sent late last week, seven top officials from the office of the Texas attorney general acussed Texas AG Ken Paxton of abusing the powers of his office by taking bribes and improperly using his position for personal benefit. The letter was first reported by the Austin Statesman.
The letter, which was initially sent to the human resources department of the AG’s office and dated Oct. 1, doesn’t offer any specifics or details about Paxton’s alleged crimes.
Later, the Houston Chronicle reported that the violations are related to an embattled investor and campaign backer of the AG.
The letter claims that Paxton has been “violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses.”
Paxton’s office responded to the letter by accusing its authors of trying to tamper with an internal criminal probe, but it also didn’t go into any specifics.
The letter attracted a lot of attention locally due to the signature of Jeffrey Mateer, the first assistant AG and a pro-Trump conservative who is seen as friendly to Paxton.
57-year-old Paxton has held state office in Texas since winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2003 as a Republican from Collin County in the northern fringes of suburban Dallas. Paxton unsuccessfully campaigned to be his party’s choice for speaker of the Texas House, before winning a seat in the Texas Senate. He served only two years in the Senate before winning a race to become Texas’s next AG. His wife Angela then went on to win Paxton’s former state Senate seat in 2018.
Here’s the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Simpson:
This letter is intended to serve as notice to the Office of the Attorney General that on September 30, 2020, we, the undersigned individuals, reported to an appropriate law enforcement authority a potential violation of law committed by Warren K Paxton Jr. in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas. We have a good faith belief that the AG is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses. Each signatory below has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement authority. Additionally, today, Oct. 1, 2020, the undersigned notified the Attorney General via text message that they have reported the violations to the appropriate law enforcement authority. A copy of the text message is attached hereto.
Jeffrey C Mateer, First Assistant Attorney General
James Blake Brickman Deputy Attorney General for Policy & Strategy Initiatives
Darren McCarty, Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation
Ryan M Vassar, Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel
Ryan Bangert, Deputy First Assistant Attorney General
Lacey E Mase, Deputy Attorney General for Administration
J. Mark Penley, Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice
Given that this scandal has the potential to take down a prominent pro-Trump official in a state that’s slowly becoming more purple than red, we imagine the MSM will keep us all apprised of any new developments, even if it is really a local story that probably wouldn’t otherwise warrant national coverage if the AG was a Democrat.