In a stunning downfall for a notable GOP attorney general, the Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach Ken Paxton in a historic weekend vote.
Paxton was impeached on a vote of 121-23. Unusually, the five-member committee that led the investigation against him was made up of Republicans.
Allegations of bribery and abuse of power have dogged Paxton for years, but none of them swayed voters who reelected him just this past November.
Paxton pointed that out the day before the impeachment proceedings as he called for supporters to “peacefully come let their voices be heard at the Capitol tomorrow” in protest of what he called “political theater” based on “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims.”
“This is a coup,” said voter Kathie Glass of Houston. Dimitri Nichols, of Austin, similarly said, “Texas voters were aware of these allegations.”
Former President Donald Trump lambasted those behind the impeachment before the final vote, posting to Truth Social, “Hopefully Republicans in the Texas House will agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or proceed—I will fight you if it does.”
In total, 20 articles of impeachment were filed against Paxton, but those that tipped the scale revolve around his allegedly improper business relationship with real estate developer Nate Paul.
In 2020, top aides accused Paxton of misusing his office to help Paul prove an elaborate conspiracy to steal $200 million of his properties, which was never proven. The FBI searched Paul’s home but never charged him or accused him of wrongdoing.
Still, the impeachment articles accuse Paxton of trying to interfere in foreclosure lawsuits and issuing opinions to benefit Paul.
On bribery, it alleges that Paul hired Paxton’s mistress in exchange for legal help and that Paul also comped expensive renovations to the attorney general’s home.
Paxton was immediately suspended from his office pending the outcome of a Senate trial. Republican Governor Greg Abbott will appoint an interim replacement in the meantime.
Final removal would require a two-third majority vote in the Senate, where Paxton’s wife is currently serving her second term. She will be among those considering allegations that include her husband’s affair.