In an attempt to clear the second-term Republican of bribery allegations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office released a report via email Tuesday that “evaluates allegations made against the Attorney General.”
The report comes nearly a year after accusations made by eight senior staffers accused Paxton of using the agency to benefit campaign donor and Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. All the employees who filed the complaint were fired or left the office under pressure and a whistleblower lawsuit was subsequently filed in which four plaintiffs have asked the court to reinstate them and compensate them for lost wages, future loss of earnings and damages for emotional pain and suffering. The recent report will have no bearing on the case that is currently awaiting a hearing at the 3rd Court of Appeals after Paxton asked the court to throw out the case.
In the 374-page internal report, the agency declares Paxton’s actions “indeed lawful” and describes allegations against him as “either factually incorrect or legally deficient.” It asserts that there was “no evidence” of a bribery or that a quid pro quo had occurred and further accuses three of the whistleblowers of breaking the law.
Paxton spokesman Alejandro Garcia did not answer questions about how many work hours or taxpayer dollars went into producing it. The author of the report is unknown and it is unclear why Paxton’s agency did not seek outside lawyers to undertake the investigation in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Attorneys for the former employees have described the report as “full of half-truths, outright lies, and glaring omissions,” and went on to comment that “whoever in Paxton’s office wrote this report was not willing to put their name on it.”
Separately, Paxton was indicted in 2015 and has since faced three felony charges for felony securities fraud, though he has pleaded not guilty to those charges. He is seeking a third term in office in 2022 and has already drawn two Republican opponents in Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.