New abuse of power claims against Ken Paxton

In a new impeachment filing, House investigators revealed new evidence further illustrating the close relationship between suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and real estate investor Nate Paul, and the great lengths Paxton allegedly took to cover it up.

One charge causing shockwaves revealed that Paul – who was arrested in June for his alleged role at the center of the accusations leading to Paxton’s impeachment – set up a fake Uber account under the name “Dave P.” Both men accessed the account, according to Uber records cited in the filing, with Paxton allegedly using it to visit a woman he had an affair with.  

The new evidence could significantly impact how the case proceeds, as Paxton seeks to get 19 of the 20 articles of impeachment against him thrown out. Paxton and his attorneys argue that all but one of the charges occurred before he began his new term in January, and that voters had information on those charges, but voted for him anyway. Paxton’s impeachment trial is currently scheduled for Sept. 5.

The new filing provides much more information than had previously been reported, demonstrating the close relationship Paxton had with the Austin real estate investor and political donor. 

House impeachment managers said the new evidence “detail(s) the extensive steps Paxton used to morph the Office of the Attorney General into Paul’s concierge law firm and, along the way, cover up his abuse of the office. And these records show how, time and time again, OAG Senior Staff continually beseeched Paxton to not let Paul use the OAG for his ‘counterattack’ on innocent citizens and law enforcement.”

The filing alleges Paxton used burner phones and secret personal email accounts, and that Paxton “frequently ditched his security detail so he could meet with Paul and others.” 

Paxton and Paul often ate together and allegedly discussed a sealed FBI search warrant affidavit for Paul’s properties. Paxton suggested that Paul submit an open records request, which House managers claimed were significant because “Paxton’s office would control the answer regarding whether Paul got the records.”

“That records request by Paul, at the suggestion of Paxton, became an obvious example of how Paxton tried to use OAG for Paul’s direct benefit. Paxton unsuccessfully urged OAG to override decades of established legal precedent to get Paul that confidential material,” the impeachment filing reads, before noting that Paxton ended up successfully providing Paul with the information he wanted.

The document noted that the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) receives 40,000 open records requests each year, on average, and “Paxton took an unusual personal interest in only one request: Paul’s.” 

The document also provided new evidence illustrating the lengths Paxton’s staff went in trying “to save Paxton from his constant insistence on using the power of the Attorney General’s Office to help Paul,” which went on for nine months, according to the filing. 

When Paul was upset about the FBI execution of a search warrant, Paxton allegedly had the top criminal law deputy at the OAG, Mark Penley, join a call with himself and Paul. The real estate investor reportedly “launched into a tale” alleging FBI agents abused their power by searching Paul’s properties in 2019 and Paxton “blindly accepted Paul’s conspiracy,” the report said. 

Paxton intervened in several more instances on Paul’s behalf, according to the filing.

Paxton reportedly pushed the OAG to intervene in a legal dispute between Paul and a charity, which the OAG is obligated to protect. Paxton went out of his way to help Paul, confusing senior attorneys, who thought, “Paxton’s insistence made no sense. Paul’s companies were involved in fraudulent transfers. The charity, not Paul, needed OAG’s help,” the filing said. 

Paxton then directed OAG to stop proceedings and join Paul at mediation, which Paxton allegedly discussed with Paul in advance. During the mediation, according to the report, the charity “found itself negotiating with OAG, the agency legally tasked with protecting it.”

Given that information, the filing also claims Paxton “allowed Paul to hold the OAG hostage for his own gain” by insisting OAG top officials work with him “to harness the OAG’s criminal powers to derail a federal criminal investigation into Paul and his companies.”

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