An email obtained by the Lone Star Project contains a memo confirming that Republican State Senator Angela Paxton (SD8 – McKinney) coordinated with officials within the office of her husband Attorney General Ken Paxton BEFORE she introduced a bill to change Texas security law. The new bill could benefit Ken Paxton’s legal efforts to avoid conviction for felony swindling charges pending against him.
The email contains a request for help from the AG office. It is from the account of Angela Paxton’s current Chief of Staff, Randy Samuelson. Prior to working for Angela Paxton, Samuelson was a longtime aide to her husband, Ken Paxton.
Angela Paxton falsely claimed that she did not “consult” with her husband.
Angela Paxton told CBS Channel 11 in DFW that “she didn’t consult with her husband on drafting the bill.” The email contradicts Angela Paxton’s claim. Moreover, it reinforces concerns that her bill was introduced to provide legal cover for Ken Paxton who is under indictment for felony violations of Texas security law.
Angela Paxton’s staffer explicitly asks for the AG to “review” the bill draft.
The email can be seen here. It shows that Angela Paxton’s legislative aide, Laura Stowe, sent a draft of the legislation to Ryan Fisher, who is the Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for AG Ken Paxton. Stowe’s memo is dated February 14, 2019, a full day BEFORE the bill (SB860) was introduced. Stowe’s memo reads, “We would like to file soon, but definitely want Paul Singer to have a chance to review.” Paul Singer is a Ken Paxton staffer working within the Consumer Affairs Division of the AG office. The email states further, “Please let me know if anything else is needed.”
The Texas Constitution prohibits legislators from acting on bills in which they have “a personal or private interest.”
Angela Paxton obviously has a personal interest in the outcome of her husband’s criminal prosecution, so her actions could be a conflict of interest in violation of the Texas Constitution. Even before discovery of the email, ethical questions were raised about Angela Paxton introducing a bill that could benefit her husband during his ongoing criminal prosecution.
- The Dallas Morning News wrote, “We worried that Angela Paxton would be a walking conflict of interest on matters that concerned her husband. Unfortunately, she is proving our worries to be founded.”
- The Houston Chronical wrote, “…her moral compass should have told her that even if the bill has merit she was the wrong person to sponsor it with her husband currently under indictment. The AG doesn’t win any points either for disavowing any knowledge of the bill before it was filed. Both claims are hard to believe…”.
- The Texas Tribune wrote, “Randall “Buck” Wood, a longtime ethics lawyer in Austin, said it would be “a real concern” for Angela Paxton to introduce any legislation related to the agency her husband leads. But a proposal that relates so closely to his personal criminal indictment is “beyond the pale,” he said.”
An ethics investigation of the Paxtons is warranted.
The email exposes Angela Paxton’s claim of no coordination with her husband as false. Senator Paxton’s dishonesty leaves the fair assumption that she knew her actions were unethical. Ken Paxton’s career is defined by unethical, likely illegal, actions ranging from felony indictment to petty theft of a Mont Blanc pen.
The Paxton’s have forfeited any benefit of doubt, and their actions should be referred to the Texas Ranger Public Integrity Unit or other appropriate oversight/enforcement authority for investigation.
Note on attribution: The comments and opinions within this report can be attributed to Matt Angle, Lone Star Project Founder and Director
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been under felony criminal indictment for nearly his entire tenure as AG. Paxton is charged with violating Texas securities law and swindling $200,000 from associates. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to the state penitentiary.
Through a complicated series of loopholes and legal maneuvers, largely funded by special interests and crony friends, Paxton has delayed the start of his trial and is in a desperate bid to have the charges dropped. Despite media calls for Paxton to step aside from his duties while under indictment, Paxton has refused. Paxton may still be the only statewide elected official in the country serving in office while under felony indictment.
Earlier this year, Ken Paxton’s wife, freshman State Senator Angela Paxton, introduced legislation (Senate Bill 860) changing key security laws and shifting jurisdiction to her husband’s AG office. While the new legislation does not exactly track the charges against Ken Paxton, the legislation could be used to aid his legal defense.
- Sen. Angela Paxton files bill that would allow her husband, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to issue exemptions from securities regulations
Dallas Morning News
- Sen. Angela Paxton defends filing bill that would hand husband’s agency new powers
- If indicted Paxton doesn’t resign, he should at least hand off duties
CBS Channel 11 – DFW
- Sen. Angela Paxton Says Bill To Change State Securities Law ‘Has Literally Nothing To Do’ With Husband’s Criminal Case
Lone Star Project