First, it was a sitting Texas governor who got indicted by a grand jury.
The governor, Rick Perry, has since left office and is now pursuing the Republican presidential nomination.
Now we have a sitting attorney general who’s been indicted by another grand jury.
Welcome to The Club, Ken Paxton.
Are they similar? Not by a long shot.
Perry’s indictment occurred in Travis County, where a grand jury has accused him of abuse of power and coercion of a public servant in connection with his veto of funds for the Public Integrity Unit. Perry and his allies have argued that the Travis County indictment was politically motivated; Travis County remains a Democratic bastion, while Perry is a Republican. Get it? Pure politics.
Not so with Paxton. He was indicted by a grand jury in his home county, which is Collin County. Paxton is a Republican attorney general; prior to that he represented Collin County in the Texas House of Representatives. I’m thinking it’s a real good bet that some — perhaps most — of the grand jurors voted for him when he ran for AG in 2014.
Paxton is indicted on two felony counts of securities fraud and another count of failing to register as an investment counselor.
This is serious stuff. Paxton is the state’s top law enforcer. He’s supposed to be clear of this kind of thing. He’s actually admitted to the investment advice matter.
Good grief! Can’t we do better than this in Texas?
OK, should he quit? No. He is still innocent until — or if — a court proves his guilt. Paxton plans to plead not guilty and will seek a trial by jury. Fine. That’s his right.
These indictments, though, of leading Texas politicians is getting worrisome.