The Texas House of Representatives will convene on Saturday at 1 p.m. to act on 20 articles of impeachment filed against Attorney General Ken Paxton. The House General Investigations Committee, composed of three Republicans and two Democrats referred the articles of impeachment to the House on Thursday evening.
Debate by the Texas House of Representatives on 20 articles of impeachment referred by the General Investigating Committee will begin on May 27 at 1 p.m. The debate is expected to last four hours and will be concluded by a vote of the House on whether to impeach AG Paxton. If the House votes to impeach the attorney general, the matter will be referred to the Texas Senate for a trial.
The 20 articles of impeachment (attached below) include allegations that include the misapplication of public resources, bribery, and obstruction of justice, Breitbart Texas reported.
Members of the committee include Chairman Andrew Murr (R-Kerrville), Rep. Ann Johnson (D-Houston), Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), and Rep. David Spiller (R-Jacksboro).
The committee spent months looking into allegations against Attorney General Paxton, Fox 26 Houston reported.
“Because of Paxton’s long-standing pattern of abuse of office and public trust, disregard and dereliction of duty, and obstruction of justice and abuse of judicial process, it is imperative that the House proceed with impeachment so that Paxton is prevented from using the significant powers granted to the attorney general to further obstruct and delay justice, not just by avoiding accountability for his wrongdoings, but by undermining the integrity of our state government,” the Republican-led committee said in a memo to the Texas House.
The committee proposed the allocation of four hours of debate on the House floor. Three hours of the time will be allotted to supporters and opponents of the impeachment. The committee reserved 40 minutes for opening arguments and 20 minutes for a closing statement. The 149 members of the House would then vote on the articles of impeachment.
Chris Hilton, litigation chief for the Texas Attorney General’s Office claims the impeachment is illegal because it violates Texas Government Code 665.081, Fox 4 Austin reported.
“It is not too late for the House to do the right thing and end this impeachment,” Hilton stated. “Texans knew about all of these allegations in the last election, and they rejected them by a margin of 10 percentage points.”
The memo from the General Investigating Committee rejected that opinion in the memo to the House, saying, “It does not apply to impeachment. The Texas Supreme Court has held that this provision does not apply when the Texas Constitution authorizes a procedure for removing a state officer.”
Paxton, who is not invited to speak during the House impeachment hearing, told reporters the impeachment vote is “deceitful” and an “act of political retribution,” the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“I hope the House makes the right decision, but, if not, I look forward to a quick resolution in the Texas Senate where I truly believe the process will be fair and just,” Paxton stated.
Republicans hold an 86-64 majority in the Texas House of Representatives. Assuming that all 64 Democrats would vote in favor of impeachment, only 11 Republicans would need to vote in the affirmative to move the impeachment to the Texas Senate for a trial.
Under the Texas Constitution, if the House votes to impeach Paxton, he would be immediately suspended from his position and Governor Greg Abbott could appoint an interim Attorney General.
Republicans also hold a 19-12 majority in the Texas Senate. The Texas Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the senators who are present to convict and permanently remove Paxton from his elected position of attorney general. This means that nine Republican senators would have to join with the 12 Democrats to convict.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told WFAA ABC 8 on Thursday night, “I don’t cast a vote. The 31 members cast a vote. I preside over it.”
“But we will all be responsible as any juror would be if that turns out to be and I think the members will do their duty,” Patrick stated.
Paxton is currently serving in his third term as Attorney General of the State of Texas.
While the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature is about to come to an end, the Texas Constitution allows both chambers to remain in session to carry out their roles in the process. If the Legislature adjourns, there are multiple avenues available to call the Legislature back into session to vote on impeachment and conduct the trial.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.