Ken Paxton’s impeachment cost Texas taxpayers $4.3 million

The costs incurred by the Texas House Board of Managers for its legal representation, travel and lodging reimbursements, and communications services before and during Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment and trial reached $4.3 million.

Documents released by the House Business Office on Thursday, nearly three months after the conclusion of the trial, detailed 228 pages of invoices from three legal firms that represented the managers’ case against Paxton. The three main attorneys on the prosecution’s side — Rusty Hardin, Dick DeGuerin, and Harriet O’Neill — were paid $3.7 million for their $500 hourly rate and expenses.

New West Communications was paid $32,000 from June through September for communications support services outside the court of impeachment.

In contrast, the Senate’s costs amounted to around $95,000. A state audit of the whole ordeal is ongoing.

The trial's costs eclipse the sum of money that started this whole impeachment inquiry: the $3.3 million settlement between Paxton and the Office of the Attorney General whistleblowers. That whistleblower lawsuit is back on the table after the agreement broke down, and if the former employees are victorious in their suit, they could claim well above that settlement amount.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Paxton said in a statement. “Whether it’s the House costs, Senate costs, or the overall impeachment session costs, many millions more were incurred on Dade Phelan’s sham and needless impeachment.” 

Turning his sights on the speaker of the House, Paxton added, “All of this is due to Dade [Phelan’s] ineffective leadership and unwillingness to govern like a conservative. Voters need to send Dade and any Representative supporting Dade home in the upcoming primaries. We need effective leadership in the House that quits embarrassing Texas and is focused on making Texas a beacon of freedom, enterprise, and opportunity.”

Phelan responded to the costs, backing his chamber’s investigation and action, saying, “After Ken Paxton refused to testify before multiple House committees to justify his request of the Texas Legislature to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought against him by whistleblowers in his inner circle, the Texas House General Investigating Committee initiated its investigation into the merits of the whistleblower's claims.” 

“The investigation, impeachment, and trial of Ken Paxton shed a clear, unflinching light on who Paxton is and the lengths to which he will go to stay in power. The Texas House will continue to faithfully fulfill its obligation to protect the integrity of our institutions and safeguard the public's trust.”

House Board of Managers Chair Andrew Murr (R-Junction), who is not running for re-election, added, “The historic impeachment trial was an investment in upholding the integrity and trust in our elected officials.”

“This was not merely a legal proceeding; it was a reaffirmation of our commitment to transparency and accountability in governance. In a state where the rule of law is held in high esteem, ensuring that our leaders are held to the highest ethical standards is not just a necessity, but a duty. The future of Texas's governance, rooted in trust and transparency, justifies this expenditure, reinforcing the belief that the foundations of our democracy are worth every penny.”

The trial’s fallout continues with primaries right around the corner. Amid these costs and the coming audit, the official side-book on the Paxton impeachment can be closed. But the political fallout is just beginning.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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