Last week, a grand jury indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on felony securities fraud charges that accuse the Republican of misleading investors before he took over as the state's top law enforcement officer, a special prosecutor said Saturday.
Paxton is also accused of failing to register as a solicitor while taking commissions for referring law clients to a financial investor. That charge, a third-degree felony, could bring two to 10 years in prison if convicted.
"It is time for Paxton to face the consequences. This is yet another example of the corrupt culture that fester with one-party, unchecked Republican power," Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said.
Conviction of a first-degree felony in Texas carries a punishment of five years in prison to life.
The cloud of a criminal investigation has shadowed Paxton while he emerged as a national Republican figure during his first six months as Texas' attorney general.
A tea party star in Texas, Paxton recently advised county clerks they could refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the unions nationwide.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should resign. This is what a growing number of editorial boards are saying across Texas about Ken Paxton -- an admitted lawbreaker and Texas’ chief law enforcement official facing over 99 years in jail -- and his three felony counts.
Paxton’s indictment is a black eye on Texas and the Attorney General’s office. His legal battle is set to be lengthy and costly. He has no credibility.
It’s time for Ken Paxton to resign and restore integrity to the AG’s office. Take a look at the editorial boards on Paxton’s felony indictments:
Austin American-Statesman: Embattled Ken Paxton should step down as Texas attorney general
“It is also important for the people of Texas to have an attorney general who is focused on the job at hand, which is maintaining the rule of law. Paxton is no longer able to make that claim.” [Austin American-Statesman, August 8 2015]
Corpus Christi Caller Times: The voters are victims, perps in Paxton case
“The conclusion that Paxton should resign is so thoroughly inescapable that saying it feels silly. Unfortunately, it's just one of a growing mountain of inescapable conclusions that escape Paxton and the people who elected him in a landslide.
“If he won't resign, at least he should turn his duties over to his staff so that the people of Texas can have a full-time attorney general, not one distracted by preparations for his defense.” [Corpus Christi Caller Times, August 5, 2015]
Longview News-Journal: Indictment of AG another black eye on Texas politics
“Considering how much of his time will be spent fighting these charges as he tries to stay out of prison, the best course for Paxton now would be to resign and let Gov. Greg Abbott appoint a replacement. We doubt Paxton will do this, which means Texas will have an attorney general whose mind is more on his own legal needs than those of our state.” [Longview News-Journal, August 5, 2015]
Dallas Morning News: If indicted Paxton doesn't resign, he should at least hand off duties
“It’s against this backdrop that we urge Paxton to put the integrity of his office first. The state’s top law enforcement officer is required to defend the laws and state Constitution. He now stands charged as a violator of the very laws he’s sworn to uphold.” [Dallas Morning News, August 3, 2015]