Paxton fought $300 hourly rate for attorneys prosecuting him, but OKs it for “rookie” lawyer in donor’s case

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Special prosecutors Brian Wice, left, and Kent Schaffer enter the Collin County Courthouse during a pre-trial motion hearing for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, in McKinney. Credit: Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that $300 an hour is too much to pay the two special prosecutors appointed to take him to trial in a long-running felony securities fraud case — but that’s the rate his agency is paying the inexperienced attorney Paxton hired last month to investigate a complaint by a political donor.

Paxton was indicted in 2015 on allegations that he solicited investors without disclosing that he stood to be compensated, but has maintained his innocence and never gone to trial as his attorneys bicker with prosecutors over issues of venue and how much the prosecutors should be paid.

That second issue — still being disputed at a trial court in Harris County — came back to haunt Paxton this past week following revelations that he had hired Brandon Cammack, an inexperienced defense attorney, to investigate a complaint made by one of his political donors. Paxton personally signed off on paying Cammack $300 an hour — exactly the rate promised to the two attorneys appointed to take Paxton to trial, who have not been paid since 2016 as Paxton’s political allies and defense attorneys call that figure exorbitant.