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Gov. Abbott Must Appoint an Acting AG From Outside the Agency and With No Connection to Paxton

Complete transparency and cooperation from the AG’s office are needed ahead of Paxton’s impeachment trial

AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott must act swiftly to appoint an acting attorney general with no personal, professional, or political connections to Ken Paxton and will pledge full cooperation with the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate and other investigations, Public Citizen said today.

“Because Ken Paxton is accused of corruptly using his position to enrich himself and benefit a wealthy donor, Gov. Abbott should designate someone from outside the attorney general’s office to lead the agency in the interim,” said Adrian Shelley, the Texas director of Public Citizen. “Paxton will remain on suspension for weeks, if not months. Until then, the office needs a leader who does not raise conflict of interest concerns and will respond promptly and fairly to requests for documents and information from the impeachment managers and Paxton’s defense team.

“The impeachment and trial of an attorney general is unprecedented in this state. When this is over, Texans must be able to trust that the process was handled fairly and with as much openness as possible.”

Public Citizen also recommends an acting Attorney General who will adjust the office’s priorities.

“Gov. Abbott should appoint an acting attorney general who will refocus the office’s attention on protecting consumers and its related duties,” Shelley added. “Paxton’s continuous and misguided attacks on the federal government were beneath the dignity of the office.”

Paxton became the first Texas attorney general to be impeached on Saturday. Under state law, he was immediately suspended from his duties pending the outcome of his trial, which must begin by Aug. 28.

Abbott has not commented on Paxton’s impeachment or signaled his intention to appoint an interim attorney general. Paxton’s second in command will serve as acting attorney general if Abbott does not appoint a temporary replacement.