AUSTIN, Texas – Texas senators reached a not guilty verdict in suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial on Saturday.
Paxton, a Republican and star of the conservative legal movement, was suspended from office in May when the GOP-controlled House voted 121-23 to impeach him on 16 out of 20 articles ranging from bribery to abuse of public trust. Most of the articles dealt with Paxton using his office to benefit a wealthy donor, Nate Paul, prompting eight of the attorney general’s top deputies to report him to the FBI in 2020.
The impeachment trial lasted nine days before it was handed over to the Texas Senate for deliberations and voting on the 16 impeachments.
Here’s a look at the 16 articles of impeachment and how senators voted:
Article I - Disregard of Official Duty - Protection of Charitable Organization - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of failing to act as a public protector of charitable organizations by directing his employees in the attorney general’s office to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the Roy F. & JoAnn Cole Mitte Foundation against entities controlled by Paul, harming the Austin charity in an effort to benefit the wealthy donor.
Article II -Disregard of Official Duty – Abuse of the Opinion Process - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing his official power to issue written legal opinions. He allegedly had employees prepare an opinion that protected some of Paul’s properties from being sold in foreclosure. Paxton concealed his actions by asking a Senate committee chairperson to seek that opinion. He’s also accused of directing employees to reverse their legal conclusion to help Paul.
Article III - Disregard of Official Duty – Abuse of the Open Records Process - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing his official power by allegedly interfering with his office’s handling of a public records request dealing with the files of a criminal investigation into Paul.
Article IV - Disregard of Official Duty – Misuse of Official Information - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing his power to administer public information law by improperly obtaining previously undisclosed information held by the attorney general’s office to benefit Paul.
Article V -Disregard of Official Duty – Engagement of Cammack - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing official powers by hiring attorney Brandon Cammack to investigate a baseless complaint made by Paul. That led to Cammack issuing more than 30 grand jury subpoenas in an effort to help Paul.
Article VI - Disregard of Official Duty – Termination of Whistleblowers - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of violating the state’s whistleblower law by retaliating against employees who reported his alleged unlawful acts to law enforcement, terminating them without good cause or due process. He’s also accused of engaging in a public and private campaign to impugn those employees’ professional reputations or prejudice their future employment.
Article VII - Misapplication of Public Resources – Whistleblower Investigation and Report - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing public resources by directing employees to conduct a sham investigation into terminated employees’ whistleblower complaints and publish a report containing false or misleading statements in Paxton’s defense.
Article VIII - Disregard of Official Duty – Settlement Agreement - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing his official powers by concealing his wrongful acts in connection with the whistleblower’s complaints by entering into a settlement with the whistleblowers that provides for payment from public funds. The settlement halted the wrongful termination suit and delayed the discovery of facts and testimony at trial, to Paxton’s advantage. That allegedly prevented voters from making an informed decision about his reelection in 2022.
Article IX - Constitutional Bribery – Paul’s Employment of Mistress - Not guilty
It is alleged that Paxton benefited from Paul’s decision to hire the woman. In exchange, Paul allegedly received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the attorney general’s office.
Article X - Constitutional Bribery – Paul’s Providing Renovations to Paxton Home - Not guilty
It is alleged that in exchange for providing the renovations, Paul received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the attorney general’s office.
Article XV - False Statements in Official Records – Whistleblower Response Report - Not guilty
It is alleged that Paxton made or caused to be made multiple false or misleading statements in the lengthy written report issued by his office in response to whistleblower allegations.
Article XVI - Conspiracy and Attempted Conspiracy - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of conspiring or attempting to conspire with others to commit acts described in one or more articles.
Article XVII - Misappropriation of Public Resources - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of misusing his official powers by causing employees to perform services for his benefit and the benefit of others.
Article XVIII - Dereliction of Duty - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of violating the Texas Constitution, his oaths of office, statutes and public policy against public officials acting contrary to the public interest by engaging in acts described in one or more articles.
Article XIX - Unfitness for Office - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of engaging in misconduct, private or public, of such character as to indicate his unfitness for office, as shown by the acts described in one or more articles.
Article XX - Abuse of Public Trust - Not guilty
Paxton is accused of using, misusing or failing to use official powers to subvert the lawful operation of the state government and obstruct the fair and impartial administration of justice, bringing the attorney general’s office into scandal and eroding public confidence in state government, as shown by the acts described in one or more articles.