AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas House voted 121-23 to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Saturday.
The vote approved the 20 articles of impeachment that the Hosue General Investigating Committee laid out Thursday. These articles were the result of a two-month investigation that began after Paxton asked to use state funds to settle a $3.3 million whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former employees who accused him of wrongdoing.
The impeachment resulted in Paxton’s suspension from his role, which gives Gov. Greg Abbott the opportunity to appoint someone as the interim attorney general.
“We will not tolerate corruption, bribery and abuse of power,” Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, said in the closing statements of the impeachment proceedings.
The House decided whether there was sufficient evidence to justify going to an impeachment trial. Now that the House has approved the articles of impeachment, the matter will go to the Senate for a trial.
During the trial, senators will act as a jury and must take a vote of impartiality. The Senate needs two-thirds of votes in favor in order to remove a candidate from office. A convicted leader would be forced to leave office permanently.
The House General Investigating Committee called up the articles enumerated in House Resolution 2377 on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the House’s consideration. The committee scheduled four hours for debate – 40 minutes for opening arguments, 20 for closing and time evenly allocated for supporters and opponents to debate, per a memo from the House General Investigating Committee.
“We’re here today because the Attorney General asked the legislature to fund a multi-million dollar settlement against him,” said Rep. Charlie Geren, R- Fort Worth, a House General Investigating Committee member.
“We have a duty and obligation to protect the people of Texas from elected officials who have used their office for personal gain… we should not ignore and pretend it didn’t happen. Texas is better than that,” said Rep. David Spiller, R-Jacksboro, during the hearing.
Following the impeachment, the Attorney General’s office released a statement saying, in part, “the Texas House chose to proceed with the illegal impeachment of Attorney General Paxton.”
“The General Investigating Committee’s politically motivated investigation against Attorney General Paxton is predicated on long-disproven claims grounded in hearsay and gossip,” it continued.
Catch up on our coverage:
- Potential impeachment looms over AG Ken Paxton after investigative hearing
- What we know about possible impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton
- What do the 20 Articles of Impeachment against Ken Paxton mean?
- How does the impeachment process work in Texas?