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LGBTQ Nation: Texas House committee calls to impeach anti-LGBTQ+ attorney general Ken Paxton


A Republican-led committee in the Texas House of Representatives has unanimously recommended impeaching state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) over corruption allegations. Concurrently, Paxton said state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) should resign over allegations of drunkenness. Both men have overseen numerous anti-LGBTQ+ actions in the state’s capitol.

It’s unclear whether Republican-led legislature will impeach Paxton — something that has only happened thrice to elected officials in the state’s history. If it doesn’t impeach him before its legislative session ends on Monday, it can convene a special session to do so.

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The House committee, consisting of three Republicans and two Democrats, voted on Thursday to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Paxton. Their vote occurred a day after investigators hired by the committee provided hours of testimony detailing how Paxton allegedly abused his office.

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The investigators said Paxton created a “climate of fear” in his office, retaliating against workers who brought up concerns. Paxton also allegedly used his office to help an Austin real estate developer who was also a donor. The developer also hired a woman who was in a relationship with Paxton, The New York Times reported.

A lawyer from Paxton’s office, Christopher Hilton, called the investigators’ testimony “false” and “misleading.” Hilton also called the committee’s process “completely lacking,” claiming that the issues that investigators raised had been previously addressed. Hilton also claimed that Paxton could only be impeached for his conduct following the 2022 election, not actions from before then.

Paxton is currently under indictment for securities fraud. In February, he paid a $3.3 million settlement to four top aides who accused him of corruption and retaliation. Paxton requested the state legislature to pay for the settlement. Phelan refused, and the House committee was formed to investigate the reasons behind Paxton’s request.

As the investigation wrapped up, Paxton spent two days this week accusing Phelan of presiding over the chamber “in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication,” The Hill reported. The claim was driven in part by a video that appeared to show Phelan slurring his words. The video was widely shared by far-right activists who blame Phelan for not passing various conservative bills during this legislative session.

Phelan has overseen the introduction of over 30 anti-LGBTQ+ bills by fellow Republican lawmakers in the House. Most died in the House, though Phelan didn’t vocally oppose them. Paxton has called LGBTQ+ people “predators” and said he’d be open to defending a state law to ban homosexuality again.

In February 2022, Paxton issued a non-binding opinion stating that gender-affirming health care for transgender youth is a form of child abuse, a move that increased harassment of families with trans children. In December 2022, he sued the administration of President Joe Biden (D) to allow adoption agencies to reject same-sex parents. In September 2021, his office sued the Biden administration for the First Amendment right to misgender trans employees.

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