Tag Archives: Texas AG

Paxton seeks to bask in some perverse glory

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have concluded, based on zero hard data and only on my inherent bias that I admit to freely, that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is hellbent on making a spectacle of himself.

He seeks to bask in some sort of perverse glory derived from Donald Trump’s idiotic pursuit of “widespread voter fraud” where none exists. Thus, Paxton has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the free and fair election results in four states that cast most of their votes for President-elect Joe Biden in the just completed presidential election.

Paxton’s alleged “logic” is beyond belief.

He says the four states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — changed their voting rules in an unconstitutional fashion by allowing more voters to cast their ballots using the U.S. Postal Service. He wants the high court, therefore, to toss out those states’ election returns.

To its credit, the SCOTUS — with three justices nominated by Donald Trump already aboard — has declared already that another lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania GOP member of Congress has no merit; it has tossed it aside with a single-sentence ruling.

So what the hell is Paxton trying to do here? I mean, the dude already is in trouble already. He is awaiting trial in Texas courts for securities fraud allegations. He also is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly doing favors illegally for a campaign donor. Seven key legal aides have quit or been fired by the AG after they blew the whistle on what they allege is illegal conduct.

The word on Paxton is that he was a mediocre lawyer prior to his election to the Texas Legislature, where he didn’t distinguish himself as the author of much key legislation. Then he got elected Texas AG in 2014 and was almost immediately showered with suspicion when a Collin County grand jury indicted him for securities fraud.

Now this? The AG must have a screw loose.

Let me be as clear as possible: Joe Biden won the election; there is no evidence of the kind of “widespread” fraud that Trump and his Trumpster Team allege. Even the U.S. attorney general, William Barr, has reached that conclusion.

Ken Paxton needs to stop meddling in other states’ affairs.

Texas AG feels the heat

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ken Paxton is supposed to be fixated solely on the nuts and bolts of his job as Texas attorney general.

He isn’t focused on those details. Instead, he is looking over his shoulder at a reported FBI investigation into whether he broke the law by handing out favors to a political donor.

I consider these questions to be a debilitating factor that takes the AG’s eyes off the mission, which is to represent the state on myriad legal matters.

A number of Paxton’s key AG’s office legal eagles have asked the federal government to examine whether the attorney general has committed criminal acts. They have either resigned, put on leave or been fired by the attorney general.

At least one major Texas newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has called on Paxton to resign immediately. The Morning News contends that Paxton no longer can serve effectively as the state’s top law enforcement officer, based on the federal investigation that reportedly has commenced and on the state trial on securities fraud that is still pending.

Indeed, it is impossible in my view for the attorney general to work on behalf of the state while the FBI presumably is looking high and low to determine whether there is anything to the allegations that the AG’s top aides have raised.

I get the part about the presumption of innocence. However, the cloud is darkening over Paxton and his tenure as attorney general.

At issue is whether Paxton intervened on legal matters involving Nate Paul, a major donor to Paxton’s campaigns. Paxton’s aides suggest he broke the law; their complaints involve allegations of bribery.

This isn’t going down well with many of Paxton’s fellow Republicans. Some have called the allegations “concerning.” Others have said Paxton should quit.

The drama is going to play out eventually, or one should hope.

Texas needs an AG who isn’t sullied by these types of questions.

Thus, you can count me as one who continues to believe Ken Paxton should resign.

Texas AG faces new questions, allegations

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had been in some serious trouble already, with a pending trial awaiting him over allegations of securities fraud.

Now comes a new set of concerns raised by senior AG office staffers, including Paxton’s top assistant, who are demanding a federal investigation into whether Paxton has abused the power of his office.

The hits just keep on comin’, as the saying goes.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, two of Paxton’s fellow Republicans, are being strangely reticent about the allegations. Patrick says they are “very concerning” and Abbott said they raise “serious questions.” The two men of course are withholding judgment until they know all the facts.

As the Texas Tribune has reported: “We have a good faith belief that the attorney general is violating federal and/or state law including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses,” seven agency leaders wrote in a one-page letter obtained by the (Austin American-) Statesman.

Among the seven officials who signed the letter is Jeff Mateer, Paxton’s top aide, who quit the AG’s office this past week.

Good heavens. The state’s top law enforcement officer cannot possibly function well with these kinds of clouds hanging directly over him. He already is awaiting trial on securities fraud stemming from a Collin County indictment in 2015 alleging that he failed to notify investors of his involvement with certain fund management outfits. Now we have this matter.

I would hope the federal government would get involved promptly and reach an independent finding of whether the admittedly unspecified allegations have any merit.

If not, then let Paxton stand trial on the securities matter. If they are legitimate, then let’s allow the system to take care of AG Paxton.

Texas AG needs to go on trial

Is this the year that Texas’s indicted attorney general stands trial on charges of committing securities fraud? Finally? Will we get a resolution?

Republican Ken Paxton and his legal team are trying to get the case moved back to Collin County, which is Paxton’s home county; he represented North Texas in the Legislature before being elected as attorney general. Prosecutors are concerned that a Collin County jury won’t be impartial enough to render a reasonable verdict.

But wait! A Collin County grand jury was able to indict Paxton on felony charges. Thus, I don’t have a particular problem with the case coming back here.

At issue is an indictment that alleges Paxton didn’t disclose his connection with an investment firm. The indictment came down in 2015, the year after Paxton was elected attorney general. He has since won re-election to the AG’s office.

What boggles my mind is the number of delays that have occurred since the initial indictment … nearly five years ago! They have involved venue change requests, damage done by Hurricane Harvey (given that the case has moved to Houston).

Texas needs an attorney general who either is cleared of the allegations that are hanging over his head or one who would replace an AG who’s been convicted of a felony crime.

As the Beaumont Enterprise said in an editorial, enough already, with the incessant delays.

How about a trial this year?

Texas going into battle on behalf of . . . Chick-Fil-A?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put a message out via Twitter that said this . . .

The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A based on the religious beliefs associated with the company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance. It’s discriminatory, and not only out of step with Texas values, but inconsistent with the Constitution and Texas law.

Sigh.

I am truly undecided on this one.

San Antonio officials have decided to remove Chick-Fil-A from its new airport terminal. Why? Because the fast-food owners have said they oppose same-sex marriage. The city said it cannot support a company that has “anti-LGBTQ” sentiments.

Paxton’s argument is that the prohibition violates the religious liberty clause in the U.S. Constitution and it runs counter to state law that bans discrimination on the basis of religion.

My own view is that I do not choose to patronize businesses on the basis of their politics. I don’t boycott films by actors whose politics differ from my own, either.

I have no particular bone to pick — no pun intended — with Chick-Fil-A one way or the other. Its food is OK. I do recall not long after the company CEO made his anti-gay-marriage comment that the lines grew long at the Chick-Fil-A in southwest Amarillo. I didn’t want to wait forever for a so-so chicken sandwich. I guess some folks in the Texas Panhandle were hot to trot over the CEO’s comment; they said, “Hell yes!” to his view and decided to demonstrate their support by waiting in line for a very long time.

It ain’t my bag, man.

This matter is much ado about nothing too much.

I think I can predict that the lines at Chick-Fil-A are going to grow long once again.

Fine. Knock yourselves out, folks.

Sen. Paxton exhibits a form of tone deafness

Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton — who was just elected in 2018 — is new in her job as a legislator. The McKinney Republican, though, should have thought better than to propose a bill for consideration that involves her husband, the state attorney general.

Why is that? Attorney General Ken Paxton is awaiting trial on a securities fraud allegation. Sen. Paxton, though, has proposed Senate Bill 860, which broadens the AG’s regulatory power over those who market financial services. You see, AG Paxton is accused of failing to report his own involvement as a securities adviser to potential clients.

Therefore, I intend to accuse Sen. Paxton of being tone deaf.

She is one of 19 Republicans serving in the Texas Senate. I would doubt seriously any of the dozen Democrats who serve with her would buy into what she wants to do, so we’ll look briefly at her GOP colleagues.

It seems odd that the spouse of a statewide elected official who is set to stand trial for securities fraud would propose legislation that affects the official who’s about to become a defendant in a court trial.

They talk about whether legislation passes the “smell test.” This one doesn’t, at least not my olfactory glands.

Couldn’t the rookie Texas senator find a GOP colleague among the 18 of them who serve with her to carry this legislation forward?

AG might get new power

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t necessarily endorse SB 860. It expands the power of the attorney general and seems to remove a level of transparency that should be required when it involves securities and financial regulation.

It’s just that Sen. Paxton carrying a bill that has a direct impact her husband, who’s facing potential prison time if he’s convicted of securities fraud, is a stinker.

Ethics watchdogs seem to believe it stinks, too. I’m on their side.

Pass the scented spray in the Texas Senate; this one stinks

The Texas Senate needs to be fumigated. Already!

Republican state Sen. Angela Paxton, the wife of the Texas attorney general, who is awaiting trial on securities fraud, has just introduced legislation that would give her husband, Ken Paxton, the authority to decide who is violating, um, securities fraud.

This one not only doesn’t pass the smell test, it stinks up the entire Texas Senate. Pass the scented spray!

This measure disappoints me greatly. Sen. Paxton, from McKinney, is a freshman legislator. However, she ought to know better than to step with both feet into this legal pile of dookey.

Not a conflict of interest, but it’s close

Senate Bill 860 would broaden the power to the attorney general’s office. As the Texas Tribune reports: “In doing so, the bill would grant broad powers to the attorney general’s consumer protection division, allowing it to accept or reject entrepreneurial applicants who seek to hawk innovative produces outside of the state’s current standards and regulations.”

What about the AG? Ken Paxton was indicted in 2017 by a Collin County grand jury for securities fraud in connection with an allegation that he didn’t provide proper notification that he was acting as an investment adviser. He’s awaiting trial.

Good grief! My major concern about Sen. Angela Paxton service dealt with how she might vote on matters involving her husband’s salary as a state constitutional officer. I didn’t see this one coming.

I get that AG Paxton should be presumed innocent, but why in the world would Sen. Paxton want to step so directly into this legal mess involving her husband?

This one stinks to high heaven!

Sen. and AG Paxton: Let’s avoid conflict

The Texas Legislature convenes today and will run for the next 140 days — or so — while seeking to do the state’s business. Let’s hope they get it all done in one sitting.

Let’s look briefly, though, at an interesting political juxtaposition.

State Sen. Angela Paxton takes office as a rookie legislator. She won a hard-fought Republican primary this past spring and then cruised to election in the fall.

Then we have Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Angela’s husband, who also won re-election with relative ease in November.

Where might the conflict lie? Well, I’ve been watching Texas politics and government up close for nearly 35 years and this is the first time I’ve been aware of spouses holding elected office in separate branches of government. Yes, we have a father-daughter duo serving at the moment — state Rep. Tom Craddick of Midland and Railroad Commissioner Christy Craddick.

The AG and Sen. Paxton arrangement, though, might present a potential problem once the Legislature gets around to actually legislating. I am thinking specifically of money matters; even more specifically about the issue of salaries for executive branch officials, which the Legislature controls.

How is Sen. Paxton going to avoid any potential conflict of interest if the issue of pay for state officials comes up? Is the senator going to vote to give her husband a pay increase, which could open up questions of whether the senator is feathering her own nest with an affirmative vote? Or, might Sen. Paxton simply abstain?

I would prefer she not take part in any vote having anything to do with financial remuneration involving her husband.

She’s likely smart enough to know better. I trust the AG is as well.

I look forward to keeping an eye on both of them. Sen. Paxton now represents me, as I now reside in Collin County. So does her husband, who as attorney general represents all Texans spread across our vast state.

Be careful, folks.

Preferring AGs who aren’t under indictment

If I might paraphrase Donald John Trump … I prefer attorneys general who aren’t under indictment.

Texas AG Ken Paxton is running for re-election against Justin Nelson. Paxton, the Republican, is favored to win a second term; he is, after all, a Republican running in Texas.

But here’s the thing about Paxton. He has been indicted by a Collin County grand jury on charges of securities fraud.

Paxton goes negative

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this case is that he was indicted by a grand jury in his home county. He represented Collin County as a state representative before he was elected attorney general in 2014. Paxton had a mediocre legislative career before he ascended to higher office.

Indeed, he carried Collin County with 66 percent of the vote on his way to winning the election four years ago. Still, the home folks thought enough of the complaint brought against their former lawmaker to agree to an indictment.

The case is tied up over procedural matters. Paxton hasn’t yet stood trial for the felony charges; if convicted, he faces a potential 99-year prison term.

I just find it weird — even with the presumption of innocence to which Paxton is entitled — that an indicted attorney general would be poised to win re-election. I doubt Nelson will be able to upset Paxton. But still …

I don’t know about you, but I prefer my state’s chief law enforcement officer to operate without the dark cloud of suspicion that hangs over the current attorney general.

Getting to know the political lay of the land

A move to another region of Texas gives bloggers such as yours truly a chance to get acquainted with the political movers and shakers of the community.

I’ve been sniffing around the Collin County legislative lineup and have discovered that the 2019 Legislature will be received two rookies from this suburban county.

Texas House District 89 will be represented either by Democrat Ray Ash or Republican Candy Noble. We all know this about Texas politics, which is that it’s highly likely the Republican will win the House race to seat the new state representative.

How do I know that? I don’t know it, although it’s important to note that Collin County voters gave Donald J. Trump 55 percent of their ballots cast in 2016.

The race for the Texas Senate had piqued my interest a bit more. Angela Paxton is the GOP nominee; she’ll face off against Democrat Mark Phariss this fall. Paxton is an interesting candidate, in that she is married to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is going to stand trial later this year on charges of securities fraud.

But here’s the question that needs to be dealt with head on: Will a Sen. Angela Paxton be able to vote on budget matters that involve salary matters relating to her husband’s income? That seems to smack of conflict of interest. I believe Paxton would need to tread carefully on that matter if she gets elected, presuming of course that her husband gets acquitted of the felony charges that have been leveled against him.

With all this chatter about Texas “turning blue” in this election cycle, I am not yet holding my breath. We have moved from the deeply red, fiery conservative Texas Panhandle to the doorstep of a county — Dallas County — that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Given my own political bias, I feel a bit more at home politically in this region of Texas.

The learning curve about the politics of these new surroundings remains fairly steep. I’ll need to catch my breath and keep climbing.