Despite facing criminal charges himself, Paxton recently joined with local officials in southeast Texas to single-out and improperly prosecute the newly elected African American Sheriff of Jefferson County, Zena Stephens. They charged her with a felony violation for a minor technical offense that she responsibly disclosed herself on an amended campaign filing.
Two Male Candidates and One African American Female Candidate Made a Technical Error. ONLY the African American Female Candidate is Being Prosecuted for a Felony
- In an historic 2016 Jefferson County election, Zena Stephens became the first female African American elected to the office of Sheriff in Texas.
- Last month, Attorney General Ken Paxton – who served almost his entire term as AG under felony indictment – announced that Sheriff Stephens and the two male candidates she defeated were indicted for allegedly accepting cash campaign contributions in excess of the legal limit.
- Sheriff Stephens and the two losing male candidates were initially charged with misdemeanor offenses, however, ONLY Sheriff Stephens has been charged with the additional felony offense of “tampering with a government record.”
In short, Paxton went light on the two males who failed to disclose the cash contributions they received while lowering the boom on Sheriff Stephens who amended her reports to disclose the money.
Paxton, Abbott and Patrick have ALL filed amended financial disclosure and campaign reports acknowledging similar errors.
During each election cycle, any number of candidates and office holders file amended contribution reports with the Texas Election Commission to acknowledge and correct mistakes. Filing amended reports is a responsible act that rarely leads to prosecution because a felony offense occurs only when a candidate files a report “with intent to defraud or harm” the citizens.
Ken Paxton has amended his personal financial statements no less than nine times in recent years. Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick have all filed amended campaign finance reports since being elected to public office.
Paxton’s Applying a Double Standard to Sheriff Stephens
If the standard Paxton is setting for Sheriff Stephens were applied across the board, dozens of Texas officeholders and candidates would be subject to criminal prosecution for technical errors in campaign finance reports.
Who Will Hold Paxton Accountable?
When filing the case against Sheriff Stephens, Paxton hypocritically said: “No one is above the law. My office intends to hold them accountable.”
The better question is: When will Ken Paxton finally be held accountable for his crimes?