'The end is near': Karl Rove dismantles Texas AG’s 'forgiveness-doctrine defense'
Longtime Republican political consultant Karl Rove on Wednesday addressed the allegations against Ken Paxton, insisting “
the end is near” for the Texas attorney general as the state senate moves to hold his impeachment trial next month.
As Rove noted, “more than 70 percent of GOP representatives” in the Texas House voted to impeach Paxton, “including all five GOP members from his home county.”
The charges stem from Paxton’s relationship with real estate investor Nate Paul. New evidence released Wednesday by Texas state House investigators “[detailed] the extensive steps Paxton used to morph the Office of the Attorney General [OAG] into Paul’s concierge law firm and, along the way, cover up his abuse of the office,” House impeachment managers said.
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“Paxton and Paul deny all wrongdoing,” Rove wrote, adding Paxton “showed his good character by using taxpayer dollars to pay for an outside law firm to prepare a report disputing the validity of the charges.”
Rove not only criticized Paxton’s actions, but also his team’s use of the “ forgiveness-doctrine defense.”
As Rove noted, Paxton’s attorneys are trying to argue that “the impeachment itself is void … because of a statute that bars impeachment for conduct occurring ‘before the officer’s most recent election, and those allegations were public before voters cast their ballots.’”
But, according to Rove, “the Texas Supreme Court has held in three cases … that this so-called forgiveness doctrine doesn’t apply when a ‘proceeding for removal is authorized by the [Texas] Constitution.’”
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This particular proceeding, Rove wrote, “is so authorized for several top officers, including the attorney general.”
Calling the forgiveness-doctrine defense “factually wrong,” Rove pointed out that “lots of new allegations have turned up” since Paxton’s 2022 re-election, including the charges detailed Wednesday by Texas state House investigators.
Some of the Senate trial’s more dramatic moments will likely be testimony from the Paxton whistleblowers—eight respected conservative lawyers, Federalist Society members, and the attorney general’s handpicked top staffers. They risked their careers and reputations to take on a powerful boss they allege was violating the laws he had sworn to uphold.
Wrapping up his op-ed, the Republican consultant suggested Paxton’s claim last fall that “reports of [his] demise have been greatly exaggerated” may, in fact, “have been simply premature.”
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