Sen. Ken Paxton, the leading Republican candidate for attorney general, canceled his appearance at a Northeast Tarrant Tea Party event Monday evening so that he could focus on an internal review of his financial disclosure filings, a moderator of the event said.
The event was livestreamed by the group on Monday night.
“There were some things that came out today that, apparently Sen. Paxton had forgotten to reveal some information. I apologize we did not get this information until late in the day today,” the moderator said. “He decided to take it very seriously. He is working on that today. He’s not going to be here.”
The moderator was referring to a story in The Texas Tribune about Paxton launching a review of his disclosures to state regulatory authorities and the Texas Ethics Commission to determine whether he violated any laws by failing to report several business and professional relationships. Paxton's campaign could not immediately be reached for comment late Monday night.
“Obviously we learned today about some disclosures he did not make, which were required by the state,” the moderator said at the event. “He’s working on that tonight.”
The moderator did not appear to identify himself on the livestream, but conservative activist Jason Vaughn said in a Facebook post that he had been asked to moderate the event.
The moderator spoke after Paxton’s runoff opponent, Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, addressed the group. Branch said the story raised troubling questions about Paxton’s ability to lead as attorney general, a position where duties include determining how transparent state and local governments should be under the state's open records laws.
After the Tea Party event, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, appeared on Paxton’s behalf and called the Tribune story “a coordinated effort by the liberal media.” He said Paxton was the best candidate to fight President Obama.
Stickland was introduced as a Paxton "surrogate." But in a brief telephone interview after the event, the Tarrant county legislator said he wasn't asked by the Paxton campaign to speak on its behalf. Instead, he asked organizers if he could give some remarks about Paxton, calling the appearance "totally impromptu."
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/04/21/paxton-cancels-appearance-tea-party-event/.