By Damiana De La Paz
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is no stranger to scandal. In the latest example, Paxton wants to use taxpayer money to make a scandal disappear.
In 2020, former employees of Paxton sued him after they accused him of corruption and retaliation. Earlier this month, Paxton agreed to apologize publicly and pay a $3.3 million settlement to the ex-employees. However, the millions of dollars promised in the settlement would come straight out of taxpayers’ pockets if the Texas Legislature lets Paxton off the hook again.
Texans have already paid $600,000 in legal fees for this case alone. If legislators agree to pay the settlement, the total cost will be about $4 million.
State lawmakers must hold Paxton accountable – for once – by refusing to pay the settlement with tax money, forcing Paxton to use personal funds instead.
Any money used to cover for Paxton is taken away from real issues that matter to Texans.
Texans have called on legislators to prioritize the power grid since it failed during Winter Storm Uri. There has also been a push for more clean, renewable energy. There are also our public schools, state parks, roads and many other things that would be a better use of public dollars than settling a lawsuit against the attorney general.
Paxton will never learn if he continues to be rewarded with taxpayer money to throw at his issues.
Paxton’s entire time in office has been spent under a cloud of controversy. In 2015, just a few months after being sworn in, Paxton was indicted on state charges of securities fraud, a case he continues to dodge today. After the 2020 presidential elections, Paxton filed an absurd lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to throw out election results in multiple states.
And let’s not forget that the ex-employee accusations reportedly triggered an FBI investigation.
Tell legislators to hold Paxton accountable by rejecting the use of taxpayer money to settle the whistleblower lawsuit. Click here to add your name to the petition.
Damiana De La Paz is a student at the University of Texas majoring in journalism. Damiana is the Spring 2023 communication intern for the Texas office of Public Citizen in Austin.