Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott, and Joe Straus

Looks like the TXGOP has a big problem on their hands.  LSP with the developments.

Republican attorney general nominee Ken Paxton has admitted he violated Texas securities regulations and been forced to pay a fine to the Texas State Securities Board. But that is not the end of Paxton’s legal problems. Ken Paxton’s actions are more than simply violations of the state securities rules—they are felonies under the Texas criminal code (Tex. Civ. Stat. Art. 581-29).

It is only a matter of time before Ken Paxton is prosecuted, convicted of felony securities fraud and facing a sentence of up to 10 years in prison (Tex. Penal Code Sec. 12.34).

More importantly, under Texas law, a convicted felon is ineligible to serve as attorney general (Tex. Elec. Code Sec. 141.001 (a)(4)).

Will he resign his place on the November ballot?  I doubt it.

Ken Paxton should do the honorable thing—immediately withdraw from the AG race, admit his felony violations and accept his punishment. But don’t count on that happening.

Ken Paxton has dug in and appears ready to take his party down with him.

Paxton’s Republican primary opponent, Dan Branch, spent weeks trying to get GOP primary voters—and the press—to focus on Paxton’s corrupt actions. It didn’t work. Paxton beat Branch easily on the strength of overwhelming Tea Party support.

Here are just a few quotes from Branch’s campaign warning about Ken Paxton:
  • “How can he be our state’s top law enforcement officer when he has a record of repeatedly violating our laws?” Dan Branch, TribTalk, 5/25/14   

Here's where Abbott and Straus come in.

As the GOP nominee for governor, Greg Abbott is the leader of his party. Abbott could either call on Paxton to resign his candidacy and urge prosecutors to move quickly against him—or somehow explain why Texas voters should elect an admitted criminal who is ineligible to serve as Texas AG.

Instead, Abbott has done neither. He has shrunk from the moment, refusing to even comment.

Abbott’s cowardice—and his reliance on the leadership of others—was most obvious last week when information surfaced that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus may be working with the Travis County DA to prosecute Paxton in time for his removal from the ballot. Sources inside the State Capitol have told the Lone Star Project that Straus representatives—and perhaps Straus himself—have met with Travis County prosecutors and urged quick action against Paxton.

There's probably some provision that allows the RPT's Senate district executive committee members to pick another person to be their nominee for attorney general, if Straus is successful in making Paxton go away.  If Paxton fights back, then it will get ugly in a hurry.

About the last thing the Republicans need is for this kind of family feud to go public, however.  So something may come of it, or something may not.  We'll just have to watch and see.

No matter what transpires, the headwinds for a GOP sweep in Texas just got a little stronger.

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