Representatives for Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The office shared on social media a video of one of its staffers calling the probe inaccurate and questioning the legality of the committee’s recommendation.
Removing Paxton would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the state legislature.
Investigators for the committee on Wednesday said Paxton abused his official capacity, misused official information and retaliated against whistleblowers who had accused him of corruption in October 2020. Paxton settled the corruption lawsuit with four former aides in February for $3.3 million — a sum Paxton had sought to pay using taxpayer funds.
But the Texas legislature balked at using public funds to pay that settlement.
The investigators said Paxton had pressured the open records division in his office to help a donor and friend, Nate Paul, in his legal fight with a nonprofit group in Austin. In exchange for that help, investigators said, Paul helped with a “floor-to-ceiling renovation” at Paxton’s home and employed a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an extramarital affair.
The investigators also concluded Paxton wrongly fired several former staffers who reported his inappropriate behavior to authorities.
A spokesperson for Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan — a Republican with whom Paxton has feuded — declined to comment.
Paxton has been under felony indictment for securities fraud since 2015, the year he became attorney general. The FBI opened an investigation into Paxton in November 2020 on allegations he used his office to benefit a wealthy donor, the Associated Press reported.
In September 2022, a Texas judge ordered Paxton to sit for a deposition about accusations of securities fraud. Despite the indictment and litany of investigations, Texas voters elected Paxton to a third term as attorney general in 2022.
The same House committee recommended lawmakers expel Rep. Bryan Slaton earlier this month after investigating sexual misconduct allegations made against him by a 19-year-old aide. Slaton resigned his seat a day before the House voted 147-0 to expel him.
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