Jul 20, 2023 - Politics

Investigators prepare for Ken Paxton's impeachment trial

Ken Paxton of Texas standing in front of a building wearing a suit.

Ken Paxton was state attorney general from 2015 until his suspension in May this year. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Property purchases from Hawaii to Florida are reportedly among the many transactions that investigators are examining to prepare for the September impeachment trial of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Why it matters: Paxton is the third state official in Texas history to be impeached. His future as an elected official now rests with the Texas Senate.

Catch up fast: The allegations against the Republican politician from McKinney include bribery, obstruction of justice and abuse of public trust. He has denied any wrongdoing.

  • The GOP-dominated Texas House voted to impeach Paxton in late May, and he was immediately suspended from office. His Senate trial is slated for Sept. 5.

What's new: Investigators for the Texas House are looking into nearly $3.5 million that Paxton, his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, and a family trust spent on six properties across the U.S. from July 2021 to April 2022, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • Paxton's annual salary was $153,750, and his wife earned $7,200 a year as a senator, along with some per diem payments every other year.
  • Paxton's defense attorney has said that his client will not testify at the trial, though the Senate could try to force him to, per the Texas Tribune.
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who will preside over the trial, this week issued a wide-ranging gag order, saying "out of court statements" by both sides could jeopardize the trial.

Zoom in: Angela Paxton is chair of the Senate's Republican caucus, but she is stepping away from the role until her husband's trial ends and won't be part of the deliberations, per the Houston Chronicle.

Meanwhile: Ken Paxton received $1.7 million in contributions in June, his latest fundraising report shows.

  • A pro-Paxton group that's campaigning against his impeachment gave Patrick's campaign $3 million in loans and donations last month, per the Texas Tribune.

Of note: Ken Paxton's attorney and Angela Paxton's campaign did not respond to Axios' requests for comment on Wednesday.

What's next: Votes from two-thirds of the Senate, where Republicans hold a 19-12 majority, will be needed to permanently remove Paxton from office.

  • John Scott, a longtime Fort Worth lawyer and former Texas secretary of state, served as interim attorney general but stepped down earlier this month. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed his deputy chief of staff, Angela Colmenero, to the position on July 10.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that John Scott stepped down as interim attorney general and was replaced by Angela Colmenero.


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