Tag Archives: securities fraud

Can Paxton get beat?

If I had to choose one contest in this primary season coming up in Texas that interests me the most it would have to be the Republican contest for attorney general.

And for the life of me I cannot understand the notion being kicked around that the incumbent — Ken Paxton — might be in position to fend off the challenge that is coming from within his own Republican Party.

Good ever-lovin’ grief!

Paxton has been under felony indictment since the first year of his time as AG. A Collin County grand jury indicted him on a charge of securities fraud. The AG hasn’t yet stood trial.

He is facing three GOP challengers: Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. They’re all well-known within GOP circles.

Then there’s Paxton. The man is an embarrassment. In addition to the securities fraud indictment and pending trial, seven former top legal assistants quit the AG’s office and filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Paxton has committed illegal acts while serving as attorney general; the FBI is looking at those complaints, too.

I want Paxton to get drummed out in the primary. If he manages to hold on and win the GOP primary, then he’s a seeming cinch to win re-election — again! — this coming fall.

The whole notion of Paxton winning a third term as attorney general makes me want to pull my hair out.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas AG’s legal woes keep mounting

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Will it ever end for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton? I mean, will this guy ever be able to wiggle his way from under the piling on of legal and political woes?

I prefer to think the best way for him wriggle free of the political trouble would be for him to quit his public office. The legal tangle is another matter.

As the Austin American-Statesman reported:

Adding to their prior allegations of misconduct, four of his former top lieutenants have accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of misusing the powers of his office to help Austin businessman Nate Paul in exchange for favors that included a home remodel and a job for Paxton’s mistress.

The new court filing also added information about how top Paxton lieutenants approached the FBI with their suspicions after comparing notes in late September and concluding that Paxton’s alleged misconduct was “so sweeping,” not everybody “knew the whole picture.”

Court filing expands bribery allegations against Texas AG Ken Paxton (statesman.com)

Good grief! The AG is awaiting trial on a securities fraud case that began when a Collin County grand jury indicted him in 2015. Here we are nearly six years later and the matter hasn’t been settled yet.

Then came the mass exodus of the attorney general’s top legal assistants after they filed a whistleblower complaint with the FBI alleging that Paxton has acted illegally on a number of fronts. Some of the aides quit, others were fired. Paxton alleges they’re just a bunch of soreheads.

Now we have reports of feathering a campaign contributor’s nest in a matter involving a woman with whom the married AG allegedly had a romantic relationship.

I think I’ll throw in just for kicks the idiotic lawsuit that Paxton filed with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to toss out the 2020 presidential election results in several states that voted for Joe Biden. The court tossed the case, telling Paxton he had no legal authority to dictate how other states conduct their electoral affairs.

The attorney general is embarrassing our great state. He needs to resign. Now.

FBI now probing Texas AG? Wow!

(Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hits just keep coming.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who’s been indicted and is awaiting trail on charges of securities fraud, is now under investigation by the FBI for allegedly doing favors for a political donor.

Good grief! The AG should resign! His credibility is in tatters. Several of his top legal eagles filed a whistleblower complaint against him, urging the feds to examine what they contend are a series of transgressions, which happen to include bribery.

Now we hear from The Associated Press that the FBI is taking a hard look at what Paxton allegedly did.

As the Texas Tribune has reported: Two unnamed sources told the AP that the bureau was examining claims made by the whistleblowers that Paxton broke the law by intervening several times in legal matters involving Nate Paul, a real estate investor and friend who donated $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in 2018.

Oh, man! Don’t we deserve to have a chief state law enforcement officer who is clear of any sort of question or suspicion of wrongdoing? I happen to believe we do deserve better than we’re getting from this Republican attorney general.

I stand by my call for Ken Paxton to resign. I don’t much care about his future. I do care about the questions that have sullied the high office he occupies.

Time to quit, Mr. Texas AG

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is highly doubtful a major Texas newspaper read my blog from this past month before declaring it is time for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to resign from public office.

Here is what I wrote on Oct. 7:

Should AG Paxton quit?

Now the Dallas Morning News has weighed in with a strong and meticulously reported editorial that says it’s time for Paxton to go.

The Sunday DMN laid out in detail the transgressions that Paxton has allegedly committed. Now, I won’t take credit for influencing the Morning News’s editorial position. Oh, what the heck … I’ll take all the credit I deserve.

Still, for the major newspaper which happens to be Paxton’s hometown newspaper — as he represented Collin County in the Legislature before being elected AG in 2014 — to call for his immediate resignation is a big deal, man.

Read the Morning News editorial here.

It wasn’t enough that a Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on securities fraud. He still is awaiting trial five years after the indictment. Oh, no. Seven top AG’s office legal eagles blew the whistle on allegations of criminal activity within the office. They have called for a federal investigation of the myriad allegations they have leveled.

Paxton has managed to fire most of them; others have quit.

The AG’s credibility is blown to smithereens.

Hit the road, AG Paxton.

Paxton strikes back at whistleblowers

(Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s do a little math, shall we?

Seven top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have called for a federal investigation into what they allege is corrupt practices with the AG’s office, including bribery.

Two of the seven were fired; two others were put on “leave.” Two plus two equals four, correct?

And yet a spokesman for the embattled AG says the actions taken have nothing to do with the complaint the top legal eagles have filed against Paxton. Where I come from, it looks for all the world as if the firings and the placing on leave have everything  to do with the whistleblower complaint.

Paxton ought to resign, per the request from U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a fellow Republican from Austin. There’s no way on Earth that the state’s chief law enforcement officer — who’s awaiting trial on securities fraud charges stemming from a Collin County grand jury indictment — can serve while having these storm clouds brewing over his head.

But the AG is hanging on.

Shameful, I am telling you.

As the Texas Tribune has reported:

The aides, who represented a large share of the agency’s most senior staff, alerted law enforcement and then agency human resources that they believed Paxton was using the power of his office to serve a political donor, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. The agency had taken the unusual step of weighing in on a lawsuit that involved Paul, and Paxton personally hired an outside investigator — in a process aides called highly suspect — to vet the donor’s complaints

Ian Prior, a spokesperson for Paxton’s campaign, denied Friday that the personnel decisions had anything to do with their accusations against Paxton.

“Any suggestion that this has to do with the whistleblower claims is false and demonstrates an unfamiliarity with the facts,” Prior said. “There are a number of reasons for these separations that we cannot discuss at this time.”

Ken Paxton is unfit for the office of Texas attorney general.

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.

Let’s put the AG on trial … finally!

While the nation has been watching the machinations of a corrupt president and his minions, many of us in Texas have forgotten we have an attorney general who’s fighting criminal charges of his own.

Good news, fans and foes of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: A judge has ruled that the case should be returned to Collin County, where the Republican AG was indicted initially on allegations of securities fraud.

Have you forgotten about that? Yeah, me too … almost. The indictment occurred in 2015. That’s five yeas ago. The state and Paxton’s defense team have been kicking the case around ever since. Prosecutors succeeded in moving the case to Harris County because, they said, they couldn’t get a fair trial in Collin County.

Sure they could. A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton, after all, which would appear to make it possible that prosecutors could secure a conviction of the attorney general were he to stand trail in the county he represented in the Legislature before being elected to statewide office.

As the Texas Tribune has reported: Paxton has been fighting charges that he misled investors in a financial services company from before his time as attorney general. Paxton has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations and was cleared in a similar civil case at the federal level. But when the Texas State Securities Board reprimanded him for soliciting clients without being properly registered, he signed a disciplinary order without disputing its findings.

This matter needs a resolution. I happen to be one Texas resident who doesn’t like our state attorney general operating under a cloud of criminal allegations. These things tend to inhibit the man’s credibility whenever he opens his mouth.

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 AG waits and waits and waits … to stand trial

This just isn’t normal.

The state’s top law enforcement official continues to function with a dark cloud hanging directly over him, but there’s no apparent resolution in sight on how that cloud will disappear.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been indicted for securities fraud. He was elected in 2014 with that indictment hanging over him. Then he won re-election — albeit narrowly — in 2018 with the same cloud.

There have been venue change rulings and then delay upon delay.

Paxton got indicted by a grand jury in Collin County — which Paxton used to represent in the Texas Legislature — on felony counts of security fraud. Grand jurors accused him of failing to register with the state while receiving payments in return for soliciting clients for a North Texas investment firm.

Paxton also has received complaints from the Texas Securities Board, which reprimanded him for soliciting clients without being properly registered.

This is ridiculous.

The Texas Tribune has published a fascinating timeline of Paxton’s legal difficulties. Read it here.

I am left to doubt damn near everything that this guy says in his capacity as Texas AG. Sure, he’s entitled to an innocence presumption. However, a grand jury indictment doesn’t just happen because grand jurors are intent, to borrow a phrase, on “indicting a ham sandwich.”

Now the principals are caught up in a side issue involving prosecutors’ pay. More delays, foot-dragging and whatever.

Justice isn’t being delivered on this matter. The state’s attorney general needs to stand trial and there needs to be a resolution of the serious charges that have been brought against him.

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.