DALLAS (AP) – Several senior Texas attorney general representatives have reported to law enforcement that their boss was implicated in crimes such as bribery and abuse of office, according to an internal letter.
In a one-page letter to the attorney general’s chief of staff, the seven senior attorneys wrote that they had reported Republican Ken Paxton to “the appropriate law enforcement agency” for potentially violating the law “in his official capacity as the current Texas attorney general”. “
“We have a good faith belief that the attorney general is violating federal and / or state laws, including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses,”
The letter is not detailed, but is a notable charge of criminal misconduct by its own staff against the state’s top law enforcement officer, including some longtime supporters of its conservative Christian policies. Legal troubles are likely to worsen for Paxton, who has spent most of his entire five years in office after facing charges of securities fraud when the case stalled for years over legal challenges.
Philip Hilder, Paxton’s defense attorney in the securities case, declined to comment on the new allegations on Sunday. Paxton pleaded not guilty in the case, but it is not clear whether the new allegations are related.
A statement to the office of US statesman Paxton said: “The complaint filed against Attorney General Paxton was filed to prevent an ongoing investigation into the criminal misconduct of officials, including staff in that office. Making false claims is very serious business and we plan to investigate it to the fullest extent possible. “
The investigation mentioned in the statement was unclear. A spokeswoman for the attorney general did not immediately respond to an email and phone call on Sunday.
“These allegations raise serious concerns,” said Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, in a statement on Sunday. He declined to comment “until the results of an investigation are complete”.
The letter was signed by the Assistant Attorneys General for Politics, Administration, Civil Procedure, Criminal Investigation and Legal Advice, as well as Paxton’s First Assistant Jeff Mateer and Mateer’s Deputy. None of them replied to messages seeking comment on Saturday or Sunday.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Mateer resigned from Paxton’s office on Friday to return to a prominent conservative nonprofit law firm in the Dallas area. The First Liberty Institute did not immediately respond to a query about him on Sunday.
Paxton, a Republican in his second term, has raised his national profile as a Conservative crusader under President Donald Trump, including leading a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act due before the Supreme Court this fall and leading of advocates for Trump, a group supporting the president’s re-election.
Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s San Antonio office, said it was the agency’s policy not to comment on whether it had received crime allegations or was investigating. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the western district of Texas did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Bill Miller, a veteran political advisor from Texas who has worked for Republicans and Democrats, said he could not imagine setting a precedent for employees of a currently elected leader to accuse them of crimes.
“It’s like, wow,” he said.