The Texas House voted Saturday to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who has been accused of abuse of office and bribery. The vote was 121-23, with two members not voting and three absent.
Paxton is the first sitting attorney general in U.S. history to be impeached by a state legislature. He is now suspended from office and will face a trial in the state Senate.
The 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton allege that he abused his office by using it to help a political donor, obstructed justice by refusing to cooperate with a criminal investigation, and committed bribery by accepting gifts from a lobbyist.
Paxton has denied all of the allegations against him. He has called the impeachment a “witch hunt” and a “political stunt.”
The impeachment of Paxton is the latest chapter in a long and tumultuous career. He was first elected attorney general in 2014. In 2015, he was indicted on felony securities fraud charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Paxton is a close ally of former President Donald Trump. He was one of the first state attorneys general to file lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The impeachment of Paxton is a major victory for Democrats in Texas. They have been trying to impeach him for years. The vote is also a sign of the growing rift within the Republican Party in Texas.
The Senate trial of Paxton is expected to begin in July. If he is convicted, he will be removed from office and replaced by the lieutenant attorney general, who is also a Republican.
The impeachment of Paxton is a significant event in Texas politics. It remains to be seen what the long-term consequences will be.