A Republican-led committee of the Texas House of Representatives recommended on Thursday that the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, be impeached for a range of abuses of his office that the committee’s investigators said may have been crimes.
The recommendation thrust the State Capitol and its Republican leadership into uncharted political territory in the waning days of the legislative session, setting the stage for the House to hold a vote on impeachment, its first in decades and one of the few ever conducted in the state’s history. If he is impeached, Mr. Paxton, who has been under a separate criminal indictment since 2015, would be required to step down from his post temporarily while he faces trial in the State Senate.
“There’s really no precedent — we’ve really only had two impeachments under the Constitution of 1876,” said Mark P. Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University. They include the governor in 1917, who resigned the day before the Senate convicted him, and a district judge who was convicted and removed in the 1970s.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton teetered on the brink of impeachment Thursday after years of scandal, criminal charges and corruption accusations that the state’s Republican majority had largely met with silence until now.
In an unanimous decision, a Republican-led House investigative committee that spent months quietly looking into Paxton recommended impeaching the state’s top lawyer on 20 articles, including bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust. The House could vote on the recommendation as soon as Friday. If it impeaches Paxton, he would be forced to leave office immediately.
The move sets up what could be a remarkably sudden downfall for one of the GOP’s most prominent legal combatants, who in 2020 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Only two officials in Texas’ nearly 200-year history have been impeached. Paxton has been under FBI investigation for years over accusations that he used his office to help a donor. He was separately indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015, but has yet to stand trial.