Texas Senate appoints committee to develop rules for upcoming impeachment trial

The Texas Senate appointed a committee on May 29 to develop proposed rules for the upcoming impeachment proceeding against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). The committee, consisting of five Republicans and two Democrats, was directed to propose rules for the trial by June 20. The Senate also adopted a resolution on May 30 calling for Paxton’s trial to begin no later than August 28.

On May 29, the Texas House of Representatives appointed 12 impeachment managers—seven Republicans and five Democrats—to serve as prosecutors during Paxton’s Senate trial. The managers include all five members of the Texas House of Representatives General Investigating Committee that unanimously recommended Paxton’s impeachment on May 25.

The Texas House voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton on May 27. All of the chamber’s 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, which listed 20 articles of impeachment. Republicans cast all 23 votes against impeachment.

Following the House vote impeaching him, Paxton said, “The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just. It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning. … What we witnessed today is not just about me. It is about the corrupt establishment’s eagerness to overpower the millions of Texas voters who already made their voices heard when they overwhelmingly re-elected me.”

The House General Investigating Committee unanimously recommended Paxton’s impeachment on May 25 after beginning an investigation in March 2023. The Texas Tribune reported that four investigators for the House committee said during a public forum that they believed Paxton “broke numerous state laws, misspent office funds and misused his power to benefit a friend and political donor.” The 20 articles of impeachment included seven that were titled, “Disregard of official duty,” three titled, “False statements in official records,” and two each titled, “Constitutional bribery” and “Obstruction of justice.”

Paxton is the second statewide official, and the third overall, to be impeached in Texas history. Gov. James Ferguson (D) was impeached in 1917 and is the state’s only governor to be removed from office. Ferguson was indicted on nine charges, including misapplication of public funds, embezzlement, and the diversion of a special fund. In 1976, State District Judge O.P. Carillo was impeached and removed from office for “schem[ing] to take Duval County taxpayers’ money through phony equipment rentals.” Carillo spent three years in prison after being convicted of tax fraud.

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