Austin, TX – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating allegations that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took bribes to use his office to help a wealthy campaign donor.
Sources close to the investigation told the Associated Press that the FBI is currently investigating accusations by former members of Paxton’s staff.
The attorney general’s former top deputies reported their boss to federal authorities in September in a letter to “the appropriate law enforcement authority” that accused him of violating laws “in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas,” according to Forbes.
The former staffers claimed the attorney general had committed bribery, abuse of office, and additional crimes to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, the Associated Press reported.
They alleged that Paxton hired an outside attorney to investigate allegations by Paul that the FBI had done an improper search on his home and office in 2019.
The attorneys also claimed that the attorney general improperly advocated for the release of investigative records to Paul and told his staff to draft a legal opinion that limited foreclosure sales during the pandemic, allegedly to help the real estate developer, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
All of the attorneys who signed the letter have either resigned, been fired, or been put on leave since the allegations became public, the Associated Press reported.
Four of Paxton’s accusers filed a state whistleblower lawsuit against their former boss that claimed the attorney general got rid of them as retribution for reporting his alleged crimes.
The full extent of how the Texas attorney general and the real estate tycoon are connected is not clear, the Associated Press reported.
But Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton’s re-election campaign in 2018 and recently said in a deposition that the attorney general had given a recommendation to a woman who applied for a job with his real estate development company.
Two sources told the Associated Press that the job applicant was a former Senate aide with whom Paxton had an extramarital affair.
The attorney general’s office has denied all of the allegations.
Paxton told the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday that he made “no apologies” for his actions.
“I make no apologies for being a fierce investigator and defender of individual rights in the face of potentially unreasonable and authoritarian actions,” he wrote. “Doing so is not favoritism. It is doing what the people of Texas expect from every law enforcement agency, their attorney general, and the staff of this office.”
The attorney general criticized his former deputies for having aired their complaints in the courts and the media, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“After reviewing the claims made by former employees of this office, their allegations are overblown, based upon assumptions, and to a large degree misrepresent the facts,” Paxton said in his statement.
He reiterated that he had no plans to resign from office, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“Rest assured that we continue to do the people’s business in the pursuit of liberty and justice for Texas,” Paxton wrote.
The latest investigation is not the Texas attorney general’s only legal problem, the Associated Press reported.
He was indicted by a Collin County grand jury in 2015 on two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators based on private business deals from 2011 and 2012, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
The case surrounded Paxton’s promotion Servergy Inc. as a good investment to other members of an investment club without telling them he was being paid by the company for his work.
The fraud charges are first-degree felonies that carry sentences of up to 99 years in prison, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
That case is ongoing but Paxton has denied all of the fraud accusations.