|51st Attorney General of Texas|
January 5, 2015
|Preceded by||Greg Abbott|
|Member of the Texas Senate |
from the 8th district
January 2013 –January 4, 2015
|Preceded by||Florence Shapiro|
|Succeeded by||Van Taylor|
|Member of the TexasHouseofRepresentatives |
from the 70th district
January 2003 –January 2013
|Preceded by||David Counts|
|Succeeded by||Scott Sanford|
Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr.
December 23, 1962
Minot, North Dakota, U.S.
|Education|| Baylor University (BA, MBA)|
University of Virginia (JD)
Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr.(born December 23, 1962) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the Attorney General of Texas since January 2015. Paxton is a Tea Party conservative. He previously served as Texas State Senator for the 8th district and the Texas State Representative for the 70th district.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor at law, solicitor, chartered legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.
A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.
Paxton won a second term as attorney general in the general election held on November 6, 2018.
The 2018 general election was held in the U.S. state of Texas on November 6, 2018. All of Texas's executive officers were up for election as well as a United States Senate seat, and all of Texas's thirty-six seats in the United States House of Representatives. The Republican and Democratic Parties nominated their candidates by primaries held March 6, 2018. Convention Parties nominated their candidates at a series of conventions. County Conventions held March 17, 2018, District Conventions held March 24, 2018, and a State Convention held April 14, 2018. At the present time there is only one Convention Party in Texas, that is the Libertarian Party. Other parties may seek to achieve ballot access.
Paxton was born in Minot Air Force Base while his father was stationed in the United States Air Force. His parents and their three children lived in a trailer, often without air conditioning, parked outside wherever his father was temporarily stationed. At various times, they lived in Florida, New York, North Carolina, California, and Oklahoma. As a youth, he wanted to play football, but his father would not let him play for fear of injury. A lifelong football fan, Paxton carried a jersey autographed by Bill Bates, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. Bates later was named Paxton's campaign treasurer.
Minot Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force installation in Ward County, North Dakota, 13 miles (20 km) north of the city of Minot via U.S. 83. In the 2010 census, the base was counted as a CDP with a total population of 5,521, down from 7,599 in 2000. Minot AFB is the home of two major wings: the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, both of the Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.
At the age of twelve, Paxton nearly lost an eye in a game of hide-and-seek; a misdiagnosis led to long-term problems with his vision. As a result, his good eye is green; his damaged one, brown and droopy. He was again seriously injured while he was a student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. An elbow to his face in a game of basketball shattered the bones around his already damaged right eye.At Baylor, he majored in psychology and was a member of the Baylor University Chamber of Commerce. In 1985, he was elected Student Body President of the Baylor Student Government Association.
Hide-and-seek, or hide-and-go-seek, is a popular children's game in which any number of players conceal themselves in a set environment, to be found by one or more seekers. The game is played by one player chosen closing their eyes and counting to a predetermined number while the other players hide. For example, count to 100 in units of 5 or count to 20, one two three and keep counting up till it reaches twenty. After reaching this number, the player who is "it" calls "Ready or not, here I come!" and then attempts to locate all concealed players.
Baylor University (BU) is a private Christian university in Waco, Texas. Chartered in 1845 by the last Congress of the Republic of Texas, it is one of the oldest continuously operating universities in Texas and one of the first educational institutions west of the Mississippi River in the United States. Located on the banks of the Brazos River next to I-35, between the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Austin, the university's 1,000-acre campus is the largest Baptist university campus in the world. Baylor University's athletic teams, known as the Bears, participate in 19 intercollegiate sports. The university is a member of the Big 12 Conference in the NCAA Division I. It is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Waco is a city in central Texas and is the county seat of McLennan County, Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and I-35, halfway between Dallas and Austin. The city had a 2010 population of 124,805, making it the 22nd-most populous city in the state. The 2017 US Census population estimate is 136,436 The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan and Falls Counties, which had a 2010 population of 234,906. Falls County was added to the Waco MSA in 2013. The 2017 US Census population estimate for the Waco MSA is 268,696.
Paxton received a psychology degree in 1985 from Baylor University, and he continued his education at the Hankamer School of Business, earning a Master of Business Administration in 1986. Paxton then worked for two years as a management consultant before returning to school in 1988. He enrolled at University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in 1991 earned his Juris Doctor degree.
The Master of Business Administration degree originated in the United States in the early 20th century when the country industrialized and companies sought scientific approaches to management. The core courses in an MBA program cover various areas of business such as accounting, applied statistics, business communication, business ethics, business law, finance, managerial economics, management, entrepreneurship, marketing and operations in a manner most relevant to management analysis and strategy.
The University of Virginia School of Law was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as one of the original subjects taught at his "academical village," the University of Virginia. Virginia Law is the fourth-oldest active law school in the United States and the second-oldest continuously operating law school. The law school offers the J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law and hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers.
Charlottesville, colloquially known as C'ville and officially named the City of Charlottesville, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the county seat of Albemarle County, which surrounds the city, though the two are separate legal entities. This means a resident will list Charlottesville as both their county and city on official paperwork. It is named after the British Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who as the wife of George III was Virginia's last Queen. In 2016, an estimated 46,912 people lived within the city limits. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Charlottesville with Albemarle County for statistical purposes, bringing its population to approximately 150,000. Charlottesville is the heart of the Charlottesville metropolitan area, which includes Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson counties.
Paxton then joined the firm of Strasburger & Price, L.L.P, where he worked from 1991 to 1995. He then went to work for J.C. Penney Company, Inc., as in-house legal counsel. In 2002, he left J.C. Penney to start his own firm specializing in estate planning, probate, real estate and general business matters and to run for office in Texas House District 70.
A resident of McKinney, Texas, Paxton serves or has served on numerous local organizations and councils. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Allen, Frisco, and McKinney. He is a director of the Centennial Medical Center. He is a member and former director of the Collin County Bar Association, a member of the Dallas Estate Planning Council, director at Marketplace Ministries, and a member of Rotary International in McKinney. Paxton is a charter member of the nondenominational Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, founded in 1998 by senior pastor Chuck Swindoll.
On March 12, 2002, Paxton ran for his first nomination in the Republican primary for the Texas House in District 70 against five opponents. He captured 39.45% of the vote and moved into a runoff with Bill Vitz, whom he then defeated with 64% of the vote. He went on to face Fred Lusk (D) and Robert Worthington (L) for the newly redistricted open seat. On November 4, 2002, Paxton secured his first win with 28,012 votes to Lusk's 7,074 votes and Worthington's 600 votes.
On November 4, 2004, Paxton faced a challenge from Democrat Martin Woodward after running unopposed for the Republican nomination. Paxton captured 76% of the vote, or 58,520 votes compared to 18,451 votes for Woodward.
On November 4, 2006, Paxton won his third term in the Texas House of Representatives, defeating Rick Koster (D) and Robert Virasin (L). Paxton received 30,062 votes to Koster's 12,265 votes and Virasin's 1,222 votes.
On November 4, 2008, Paxton won House re-election by again defeating Robert Virasin (L), 73,450 to 11,751 votes.
Paxton ran unopposed for re-election in both the Republican primary and the general election in 2010. On November 11, 2010, entering his last term as a state representative, Paxton announced that he would run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives against Joe Straus of District 121 in Bexar County and fellow Republican Warren Chisum of District 88 in Pampa, Texas. Paxton said that if elected speaker, he would take "bold action in defense of our conservative values."
Sensing certain defeat, Paxton pulled out of the Speaker's race before the vote.Paxton was one of six Texas House candidates endorsed by HuckPAC, the official political action committee of Mike Huckabee. Paxton received endorsements and "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association.
Straus was elected to his second term as Speaker and was re-elected in 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Paxton was elected to the Texas State Senate in 2012, and served for two years, until January 2015, when his term as Attorney General began.
Paxton became a candidate for Texas attorney general when the incumbent Greg Abbott decided to run for governor to succeed the retiring Rick Perry.Paxton led a three-candidate field in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014, polling 566,114 votes (44.4%). State Representative Dan Branch of Dallas County received 426,595 votes (33.5 percent). Eliminated in the primary was Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman of Austin, who polled the remaining 281,064 (22.1 percent). Paxton faced Dan Branch in the runoff election on May 27, 2014, and won with 465,395 votes (63.63 percent). Branch received 265,963 votes (36.36 percent).
In the November 4 general election, Paxton defeated a Democratic attorney from Houston named Sam Houston.
Paxton took office on January 5, 2015.Paxton's campaign raised $945,000 in the first half of 2016, leaving Paxton with just under $3 million in his campaign account for a potential 2018 re-election bid.
Paxton's wife, Angela Paxton, his closest political advisor, often opens up his events with a musical performance. She calls her husband "a very competitive person".Paxton won the attorney general's election without the endorsement of a single Texas newspaper. He generally avoids reporters, most of whom he considers biased against him. In 2019, Angela Paxton assumed the District 8 seat in the Texas Senate as a result of her victory in the 2018 general election for that post.
In 2018, Paxton ran for re-election unopposed in the Republican primary, and he was endorsed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Paxton won a second term as attorney general in the general election held on November 6, 2018, narrowly defeating Democratic nominee Justin Nelson, a lawyer, and Libertarian Party nominee Michael Ray Harris by a margin of 4,173,538 (50.6 percent) to 3,874,096 (47 percent) and Harris receiving 2.4%.
In 2018, Paxton falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants had committed over 600,000 crimes since 2011 in Texas.PolitiFact noted that it had debunked the numbers before, and that the numbers exceed the state's estimates by more than 400%. In 2019, Paxton inaccurately claimed that the construction of a border fence in El Paso led to a dramatic reduction in the crime rate.
Paxton led a coalition of 26 states challenging President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) executive action. According to The New York Times , Obama's executive actions "would protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and allow them to work indefinitely in the country legally."Paxton argued that the president should not be allowed to "unilaterally rewrite congressional laws and circumvent the people's representatives." The Supreme Court heard the case, United States v. Texas , and issued a split 4-4 ruling in the case in June 2016. Because of the split ruling, a 2015 lower-court ruling invalidating Obama's plan was left in place. In July 2017, Paxton led a group of Republican Attorneys General and Idaho Governor Butch Otter in threatening the Trump administration that they would litigate if the president did not terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that had been put into place by president Barack Obama. The other Attorneys General who joined in making the threats to Trump included Steve Marshall of Alabama, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Lawrence Wasden of Idaho, Derek Schmidt of Kansas, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Doug Peterson of Nebraska, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia.
In 2017, Paxton voiced support for the application of eminent domain to obtain right-of-way along the Rio Grande in Texas for construction of the border wall advocated by President Donald Trump as a means to curtail illegal immigration. Paxton said that private landowners must receive a fair price when property is taken for the pending construction. He said that the wall serves "a public purpose providing safety to people not only along the border, but to the entire nation. ... I want people to be treated fairly, so they shouldn't just have their land taken from them," but there must be just compensation.
In 2017, Paxton joined thirteen other state attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court briefs in defense of both Trump's first and second executive orders on travel and immigration. In filings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, Paxton argued that the order—which places a 90-day ban on the issuance of visas to traveled from six designated majority-Muslim countries, imposes a 120-day halt on the admission of refugees to the U.S., and caps annual refugee admissions to 50,000 people—is constitutionally and legally valid.
In May 2017, Paxton filed a preemptive lawsuit designed to ascertain the constitutionality of the new Texas ban on sanctuary cities, known as SB 4, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The suit asks the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to clarify whether the law is at odds with the Fourth and Fourteenth constitutional amendments or is not in conflict with some other federal law. Paxton said that the measure "is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders. It guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional." Among those opposed to the measure are the police chiefs and sheriffs of some of the largest jurisdictions in Texas. Critics call the ban legalization of discrimination against minorities, and suits against the legislation are expected to be filed.
Paxton has mounted a legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan, which is President Obama's "state-by-state effort to fight climate change by shifting away from coal power to cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable resources."Paxton says the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to "force Texas to change how we regulate energy production" through an "unprecedented expansion of federal authority." The Clean Power Plan would require Texas to cut an annual average of 51 million tons of emissions, down 21 percent from 2012 levels. Paxton says the required reductions would cost the state jobs, push electricity costs too high, and threaten reliability on the electrical grid. Paxton says there is no evidence that the plan will mitigate climate change, and that the EPA lacks the statutory authority to write the state's policies.
Paxton is suing the Obama administration over a new rule by the United States Department of Labor which would make five million additional workers eligible for overtime pay. The new rule would mean workers earning up to an annual salary of $47,500 would become eligible for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week.Paxton has said the new regulations "may lead to disastrous consequences for our economy." Along with Texas, twenty other states have joined the lawsuit.
In June 2015, after the issuance of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, Paxton issued a statement offering moral support for clerks with religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His statement said in part that "numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights."
in 2016, Paxton led a coalition of thirteen states that sought an injunction to block a guidance letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice that interpreted Title IX to require public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms that accorded with their gender identity.Paxton wrote in court filings that the Obama administration had "conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment" and termed the directive a "gun to the head" that threatens the independence of school districts. The states dropped the suit after the directive was revoked by President Donald Trump.
Paxton is involved in a legal challenge to a rule by the Department of Labor which forces employers to report any "actions, conduct or communications" undertaken to "affect an employee's decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights."Known as the "Persuader Rule," the new regulation went into effect in April 2016. Opponents of the rule say it will prevent employers from speaking on labor issues or seeking legal counsel. In June 2016, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the rule. Paxton called the injunction "a victory for the preservation of the sanctity of attorney-client confidentiality."
In 2016, Paxton was one of 11 Republican state attorneys general who sided with ExxonMobil in the company's suit to block a climate change probe by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Paxton and the other state AGs filed an amicus curiae brief, contending that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey used her office to "tip the scales on a public policy debate, undermine the first Amendment and abuse the office's subpoena power."Healey had launched a probe of ExxonMobil's historical marketing and sale of fossil fuel products, requiring the company to produce 40 years worth of documents regarding fossil fuel products and securities. Healey said the documents would prove that ExxonMobil "knew about the risks of climate change decades ago and fraudulently concealed that knowledge from the public." The amicus brief supported Exxon Mobil's motion for a preliminary injunction. Paxton questioned Healey's use of law-enforcement authority regarding the global warming controversy, which he called an "ongoing public policy debate of international importance." Paxton described Healey's attempts to obtain historical company records for a public policy debate as a threat to freedom of speech, stating: "The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts that are nothing more than an attempt to suppress speech on an issue of public importance, just because a government official happens to disagree with that particular viewpoint." The brief portrayed climate change as an issue that was still a matter of scientific debate, although in fact the scientific consensus is that the earth is warming and human activity is primarily responsible.
U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker had also issued a subpoena for Exxon's records. Paxton issued a request to intervene in the case, stating: "What is Exxon Mobil's transgression? Holding a view about climate change that the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands disagrees with. This is about the criminalization of speech and thought." Walker dropped the subpoena in June 2016.
In 2012, Paxton was part of a lawsuit against Apple, charging the company with violating antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to artificially raise the prices of electronic books.Apple was ordered to pay $400 million to U.S. consumers who paid artificially-inflated prices for e-books, and $20 million to the states in reimbursement for legal costs.
In June 2016, it was announced that Volkswagen would pay the state of Texas $50 million in relation to the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Paxton had sued the company in 2015 in connection with the automaker's admitted use of software that allowed its vehicles to circumvent emissions limits.
Paxton is part of a 21-state lawsuit against the state of Delaware. The lawsuit alleges that MoneyGram gave uncashed checks to the state of Delaware instead of the state where the money order or travelers check was bought. The case has gone directly to the U.S. Supreme Court because it is a dispute among states.Paxton said an audit showed that Delaware owed other states $150 million, and that Delaware unlawfully took possession of uncashed checks instead of sending the checks back to the states where the money orders were purchased. The state of Delaware disputes these claims.
In 2015, the Texas State Legislature passed a law implementing property tax reductions by increasing the homestead exemption to $25,000 and prohibiting localities from reducing or repealing any local option homestead exemption already on the books. After this law was passed, 21 school districts reduced or eliminated their local optional homestead exemptions. In 2016, Paxton intervened in a lawsuit challenging the practice of school districts reducing or repealing their local optional homestead exemptions.
In 2016, three University of Texas at Austin professors sued in an effort to ban concealed handguns from campus. The state's campus carry law allows law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons. The lawsuit brought by the professors seeks to block the law. Paxton called the lawsuit "frivolous" and said it should be dismissed.
In 2016, Paxton sued the city of Austin to allow license holders to openly carry handguns in city hall.
Paxton has "crusaded against voter fraud" as state attorney general;there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas, although the state's "efforts to enact and enforce the strictest voter ID law in the nation were so plagued by delays, revisions, court interventions and inadequate education that the casting of ballots in the 2016 election was inevitably troubled."
Paxton's office is seeking 2016 Texas voting records in an effort to find voter fraud, such as potential voting by non-citizens or in the name of the deceased. This includes individual voting history and application materials for voter registrations. Officials in Bexar County say there have been no major cases of voter fraud in San Antonio.However, the Associated Press reported that the top election official in Bexar County estimates that nearly six hundred affidavits submitted by voters declined to present identification and should have been declined. Instead, the official said such voters should have been required to cast provisional ballots. AP projected that the overall number who cast improper affidavits as 13,500 in the largest Texas counties.
Fort Bend County's top elections official said that these cases are not voter fraud, noting that only those who were registered to vote qualified for an affidavit, and that "poll workers were trained to 'err on the side of letting people use the affidavit instead of denying them the chance to vote.'"
The San Antonio Express-News criticized the state's voter identification law, which Paxton seeks to have reinstated after it was struck down by United States District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christ, who found the measure to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act, and found that it was passed with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters. Paxton's office appealed the decision.Appeals continue in the case.
In March 2017, Paxton told The Washington Times that he was convinced that voter fraud exists in Texas, and claimed that local election officials in Texas were not on the lookout for detecting fraud.Experts stated that there is no reliable evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States, and a Texas study of elections over a decade determined that there were about three cases of fraud for every one million votes in the state.
Paxton "has often criticized what he calls anti-Christian discrimination in Texas schools."In 2015, Paxton opposed an atheist group's legal action seeking a halt to the reading of religious prayers before school board meetings. In December 2016, Paxton gained attention after intervening in a dispute in Killeen, Texas, in which a middle school principal told a nurse's aide to take down a six-foot poster in the school containing a quote from Christian scripture. Paxton sided with the aide, who won in court.
In early 2017 Paxton objected to a Texas school's use of an empty classroom to allow its Muslim students to pray, issuing a press release that claimed that "the high school's prayer room is ... apparently excluding students of other faiths." School officials said that Paxton had never asked them about this assertion, and that the room was a spare room used by faculty and non-Muslim students as well as for multiple activities, from grading papers to Buddhist meditation. The Frisco Independent School District superintendent, in a letter sent in response to Paxton, called his press release "a publicity stunt by the [Office of Attorney General] to politicize a nonissue."
Paxton has defended the State of Texas in a federal lawsuit involving the drawing of Texas's congressional districts. In 2017, a three-judge panel of a U.S. federal court based in San Antonio ruled that the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature drew congressional-district to discriminate against minority voters, and ordered the redrawing of Texas's 35th and 27th congressional districts. Paxton is appealing the ruling, contending that the previous maps were lawful, and vowed to "aggressively defend the maps on all fronts"; U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett criticized the appeal as a "desperate, highly questionable Paxton-Abbott maneuver" coming "after yet another ruling against the state of Texas for intentional discrimination."
In April 2017, Paxton rendered a legal opinion in a dispute between the Texas House and Senate over how to close a pending revenue gap of $2.5 billion. He argued that a Senate proposal to delay payment of a transportation debt would likely be determined in court to be constitutional. State Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound asked for Paxton's opinion. The House, however, was unmoved. House Appropriations Committee chairman John Zerwas of Richmond said that there must be other ways to finance the budget without "spending money twice from state highway funds." Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio compared the Senate proposal to accounting tricks like those of the defunct Enron Corporation of Houston.
Paxton initiated a lawsuit seeking to have the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) ruled unconstitutional in its entirety.
On July 28, 2015, a state grand jury indicted Paxton on three criminal charges:two counts of securities fraud (a first-degree felony) and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators (a third-degree felony). Paxton's indictment marked the first such criminal indictment of a Texas Attorney General in 32 years since Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox was indicted for bribery in 1983. The complainants in the case are Joel Hochberg, a Florida businessman and Byron Cook, a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives. Paxton and Cook were former friends and roommates while serving together in the Texas House, who were members of the same investment club. Three special prosecutors are leading the state's case.
The state prosecution against Paxton stems from his promotion of Servergy Inc., a technology company, to investors in 2011. Prosecutors allege that Paxton promoted Servergy to investors (raising $840,000) while failing to disclose that he was receiving compensation from the company in the form of 100,000 shares of stock in return. Paxton says the 100,000 shares of the stock of the company that he received from Servergy's founder and CEO were a gift, and not a sales commission.
On August 3, 2015, following the unsealing of the grand jury indictment,Paxton was arrested and booked. He pleaded not guilty, and has portrayed "the case against him as a political witch-hunt." Paxton and his supporters claim that the prosecution has its origin in a dispute among Texas Republicans, with conservatives like Paxton on one side and moderates like Cook on the other, and suggest that Cook's complaint, several years after the Servergy deal, was political payback.
Paxton unsuccessfully sought to quash the indictments.This challenge was rejected by the trial judge, the Texas Court of Appeals, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' criminal court of last resort.
In March 2017, District Judge George Gallagher, a Republican from Fort Worth, granted the prosecution's motion for a change of venue, moving the trial to Houston. Gallagher also denied Paxton's motion to dismiss one of the charges against him because of issues which arose about the grand jury.On May 30, 2017, the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas agreed with Paxton that the transfer of Paxton's trial to Houston required assignment of the case to a new judge to replace Judge Gallagher and all orders issued by Judge Gallagher after the change of venue were voided. Paxton's new judge is Democrat Robert Johnson of the 177th District Court in Harris County. Johnson was chosen at random to preside.
Because of a fight over the fees demanded by the special prosecutors, Paxton's trial has been delayed three times.In November 2018, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals invalided the trial court's order approving of payments of attorneys' fees to the special prosecutors in the case, and directed the lower court to issue payments "in accordance with an approved fee schedule," siding with county commissioners in Paxton's home county of Collin County, who had rejected the prosecutors' invoice. The special prosecutors in the case have suggested that if they are not paid, they could withdraw from prosecution of Paxton. The special prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in December 2018.
On April 11, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil enforcement action against Paxton in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The SEC's complaint specifically charged Paxton with violating various provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and various provisions (including Rule 10b-5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by defrauding the Servergy investors.Paxton denied the allegations. One of the defendants and Servergy itself reached a separate settlement with the SEC, agreeing to pay $260,000 in penalties.
On October 7, 2016, U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III conditionally dismissed the SEC's civil fraud charges, finding the SEC had not alleged Paxton had any legal obligation to inform investors that he was receiving a commission and giving the SEC two weeks to refile with any new allegations.Mazzant said that the SEC was trying to fit a "square peg into a round hole."
On October 22, 2016, the SEC refiled its securities fraud claims against Paxton.The SEC made the additional allegations that Paxton and Cook's investment club required all of its members to accept the same risks on all investments and that it specifically forbade members from making money off investments of other members. The SEC further alleged that Paxton did not properly disclose his Severgy ownership stake on his taxes and that he attempted to conceal the stake by at different times claiming it was his fee for legal services, that it was a gift, and that he had only received it after investing money. Cook later backtracked on these claims, undermining the SEC case against Paxton, when Cook's attorney conceded there was never a "formal investment group" involving Cook and Paxton but rather an "ad hoc arrangement where, from time to time, good friends might invest in the same transaction" with the particular participants varying from transaction to transaction.
On March 2, 2017, Mazzant dismissed the civil securities fraud case against Paxton for a second time on grounds that the attorney general had "no plausible legal duty" to inform investors that he would earn a commission if they purchased stock in a technical company that Paxton represented. With the second dismissal of the case with prejudice, the SEC cannot bring new action on the same claim against Paxton.The dismissal of the SEC case does not have a direct impact on the state criminal case, which remains pending.
|Texas Attorney General Election, 2018|
|Libertarian||Michael Ray Harris||200,407||2.40|
|Texas Attorney General Election, 2014|
|Texas Attorney General Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2014|
|Texas Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2014|
|Texas Senate 8th District Election, 2012|
|Democratic||Jack Ternan, Jr.||99,010||34.60|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Election, 2010|
|Republican||Ken Paxton (inc.)||43,006||100.00|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Election, 2008|
|Republican||Ken Paxton (inc.)||73,450||86.21|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Election, 2006|
|Republican||Ken Paxton (inc.)||30,062||69.03|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Election, 2004|
|Republican||Ken Paxton (inc.)||58,250||76.03|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Election, 2002|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2002|
|Texas House of Representatives 70th District Republican Primary Election, 2002|
Voter suppression is a strategy used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression, instead, attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against a candidate or proposition.
Gregory Wayne Abbott is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the 48th Governor of Texas since January 2015. A Republican, Abbott previously served as the 50th Attorney General of Texas from 2002 to 2015. He is the first governor of any U.S. state since George Wallace to permanently use a wheelchair.
Kris William Kobach is an American politician who served as the 31st Secretary of State of Kansas. A former Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party and member of the City Council of Overland Park, Kansas, he was the Republican nominee in Kansas's 3rd congressional district in the 2004 election, losing to Democratic incumbent Dennis Moore.
Proposition 2 was a referendum for a state constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by the Texas legislature and approved by the voters at the November 8, 2005 general election. The measure added a new provision to the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 32, which provides that "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman", and "This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage." Texas thus became the nineteenth US state to adopt constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. It was the most populous state to adopt a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage until California passed its ban in November 2008.
The Texas Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the State of Texas. The current Attorney General Ken Paxton has served in this position since January 5, 2015.
Thomas Edward Perez is an American politician and attorney who is the Chair of the Democratic National Committee since February 2017. Perez was previously Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (2009–2013) and United States Secretary of Labor (2013–2017).
Derek Schmidt is the 44th and current Kansas Attorney General. Schmidt previously served as a member of the Kansas Senate, representing the 15th district, and as Senate Majority Leader. Before serving in the legislature, he was Special Counsel to Governor Bill Graves.
Alan McCrory Wilson is an American lawyer and politician, currently serving his third term as the 51st Attorney General of South Carolina. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Luther Johnson Strange III is an American lawyer and politician who served as a United States Senator from Alabama from 2017 to 2018. He was appointed to fill that position after it was vacated by Sen. Jeff Sessions upon Sessions's confirmation as U.S. Attorney General.
Byron Curtis Cook is an American businessman, rancher, and Republican politician from his native Corsicana in east central Texas, who is a former state representative for District 8, which encompasses the counties of Anderson, Freestone, Hill, and Navarro. In October 2017, Cook announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the U.S. state of Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015.
Voter suppression in the United States concerns allegations about various efforts, legal and illegal, used to prevent eligible voters from exercising their right to vote. Where found, such voter suppression efforts vary by state, local government, precinct, and election.
Amos Louis Mazzant III is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and former United States Magistrate Judge of the same court.
Leslie Rutledge is an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. State of Arkansas. A member of the Republican Party, she is the current Attorney General of Arkansas, a position she has held since January 13, 2015.
Mark Brnovich is an American lawyer and politician from the state of Arizona who currently serves as the 26th Attorney General of Arizona. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected to the office on November 5, 2014, defeating Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini. Brnovich advanced from the August 28, 2018 Republican primary as the top vote-getter in the state, running unopposed. Brnovich's family is originally from Montenegro. On November 6, 2018, Brnovich defeated Democrat January Contreras to be elected to a second term as attorney general. Brnovich is married to Susan Brnovich, a former Maricopa County Superior Court Judge who was nominated by President Trump in January 2018 and confirmed by the United States Senate as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona in October 2018.
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), sometimes called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, was a planned American immigration policy to grant deferred action status to certain illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children who are either American citizens or lawful permanent residents. It was prevented from going into effect. Deferred action would not be legal status but would come with a three-year renewable work permit and exemption from deportation. DAPA was a presidential executive action, not a law passed by Congress.
United States v. Texas, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), is a United States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.
Anthony Holm is an American communications strategist, lawyer and author. Holm co-founded a political consulting firm, The Patriot Group, in 2006. He has served as special project director for Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas. In October 2008, Holm founded The First Amendment Alliance. The First Amendment Alliance Education Fund was founded in order to expose corruption and inconsistencies both in the government and the public sector. He has also worked as a spokesman and consultant for Republican mega-donor Bob Perry and his company Perry Homes, as well as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texans for Education Reform.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, also called the Voter Fraud Commission, was a Presidential Commission established by Donald Trump that ran from May 11, 2017 to January 3, 2018. The Trump administration said the commission would review claims of voter fraud, improper registration, and voter suppression. The establishment of the commission followed through on previous discredited claims by Trump that millions of illegal immigrants had voted in the 2016 United States presidential election, costing him the popular vote. Vice President Mike Pence served as chair of the commission, while Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach served as vice chair and day-to-day administrator.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ken Paxton .|
|Texas House of Representatives|
| Member of the Texas House of Representatives |
from the 70th district
| Member of the Texas Senate |
from the 8th district
| Attorney General of Texas |