In May, State Senator Ken Paxton, who is the Republican nominee for Attorney General, admitted he violated state securities laws.
Paxton has already paid a fine for acting as the unregistered representative of an investment adviser. In May, when the violations came to light, Sen. Paxton was merely a candidate for Texas Attorney General, however, the Republican runoff is now in the past and Paxton is the nominee. Now, other, establishment Republicans are beginning to get nervous of what Paxton's nomination could mean.
In an e-mail, progressive ally The Lone Star Project has learned Republicans inside the Texas capitol may be urging the Travis County District Attorney, an office that also runs Texas' Public Integrity Unit, to move quickly to prosecute Ken Paxton.
But why would Texas Republicans be working to remove one of their own from the ballot?
The Lone Star Project writes:
- “It is only a matter of time before Ken Paxton is prosecuted of felony securities fraud and, (if convicted), would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison (Tex. Penal Code Sec. 12.34).
More importantly, under Texas law, a convicted felon is ineligible to serve as attorney general (Tex. Elec. Code Sec. 141.001 (a)(4)).”
As things stand currently, it is only a matter of time before The Travis County District Attorney officially brings charges against Senator Paxton. Should he be convicted, he will not be able to serve as Texas Attorney General, and if elected before the conviction, Paxton would be stripped of the office.
The Lone Star Project writes: “If Paxton is prosecuted and convicted before the election, Republicans could replace him on the November ballot with a simple vote by the State Republican Party Executive Committee.”
However, if the Travis County District Attorney does not convict Sen. Paxton until much later in the year, but before the November election, Paxton would likely be removed from the ballot, leaving the election to be contested only between Democrat Sam Houston and third party candidates.
The Travis County District Attorney would likely need the Texas State Securities Board investigative file on Paxton in order to move forward with a prosecution. If The Lone Star Project is able to uncover documents that show establishment Republicans are urging the Travis County District Attorney to obtain that file would make it clear that an inside effort to get rid of Paxton is underway.
Ken Paxton was nominated mainly by members of the Texas TEA Party who supported his more conservative, red-meat stances and largely chose to only hear he was endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz. State Rep. Dan Branch's campaign tried to warn other Texas Republicans in the runoff that Sen. Paxton's nomination could only mean trouble for Republicans in the future.
Senator Paxton must now decide if he wants to avoid a scandal that will hover over the Texas Attorney General race through and possibly after November or if he would like to give the Texas Republican Party the opportunity to nominate a candidate who would likely not be convicted of a crime and removed from office.
Some establishment Texas Republicans know which option they would prefer.
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