Nate Paul wrapped up in Texas Attorney General accusations
Ken Paxton fired employees who blew whistle on his dealings with real estate player
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is under fire amid a whistleblower investigation that involves Austin real estate tycoon Nate Paul.
Investigators presented evidence to a Texas House of Representatives committee on Wednesday, alleging a yearslong pattern of misconduct and questionable actions by Paxton, the Texas Tribune reported.
Paxton broke numerous state laws, misspent office funds and misused his power to benefit Paul, according to testimony from four investigators for the House General Investigating Committee. Their testimony mainly focused on a $3.3 million settlement to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit filed by four high-ranking deputies who had been fired after accusing Paxton of accepting bribes and using his pull to get a job for his alleged mistress.
The payout would also prevent a trial where evidence of Paxton’s alleged wrongdoings could be presented publicly, committee chair Andrew Murr said. Committee members questioned if lawmakers were being asked to partake in what amounts to a cover-up.
“It is alarming and very serious having this discussion when millions of taxpayer dollars have been asked to remedy what is alleged to be some wrongs,” Murr told the outlet. “That’s something we have to grapple with. It’s challenging.”
The investigative committee could recommend that the House censure or impeach Paxton, who has been reelected twice despite securities fraud charges in 2015 and whistleblowers’ claims in 2020.
Four employees were fired after telling federal and state investigators about their concerns over Paxton’s dealings with Paul.
The committee, led by Erin Epley, conducted multiple interviews with employees of Paxton’s agency. All but one of the employees said they were afraid Paxton would retaliate against them if their testimonies were revealed, the outlet said.
Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in 2018, helped with a total renovation of his Austin home and employed a woman with whom Paxton was allegedly in a relationship with. In exchange, Paul, the CEO of World Class Holdings, allegedly received favors from the attorney general.
Shortly after the testimony, Paxton criticized the “committee appointed by liberal Speaker Dade Phelan,” a Republican from Beaumont, for sabotaging his work as attorney general.
“Every allegation is easily disproved, and I look forward to continuing my fight for conservative Texas values,” Paxton said.
The Texas House has the authority to impeach Paxton, which would lead to a trial by the Senate if it decides to go that route. Removing a state official requires two-thirds support in both chambers.
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