Guilty as Hell, and Stupid

But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is a Texas Republican, so it come with the territory.

He has now begun retaliating against the senior staff who reported him to the authorities, and firing two whistle-blowers, and stripping authority from 2 others:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has sidelined four of the seven senior aides who weeks ago told law enforcement they believed Paxton had committed bribery and abuse of office — firing two and placing two more on leave — in what employment attorneys say looks like a clear act of retaliation against legally protected whistleblowers.

The aides, who represented a large share of the agency’s most senior staff, alerted law enforcement and then agency human resources that they believed Paxton was using the power of his office to serve a political donor, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. The agency had taken the unusual step of weighing in on a lawsuit that involved Paul, and Paxton personally hired an outside investigator — in a process aides called highly suspect — to vet the donor’s complaints

Ian Prior, a spokesperson for Paxton’s campaign, denied Friday that the personnel decisions had anything to do with their accusations against Paxton.


Mark Penley, the deputy attorney general for criminal justice, was put on leave weeks ago, shortly after reporting Paxton to law enforcement, top aides have said. And Jeff Mateer, who worked for years as Paxton’s top deputy, resigned earlier this month after accusing his boss of running afoul of the law.

A sixth employee, Director of Law Enforcement David Maxwell, was also placed on leave earlier this month. Maxwell did not sign on to the whistleblowers’ Oct. 1 letter to human resources, which stated they had “a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law.” But he was involved in the investigation that sparked the mutiny against Paxton — and Paxton has slammed Maxwell for his work on the case.

These whistle-blowers were close political allies of Paxton, and the depth of his corruption has been an open secret in Texas for years.

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