Lubbock Reps Burrows, Tepper vote to impeach Ken Paxton
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock Representatives Dustin Burrows and Carl Tepper both voted to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday, part of a vote that passed 121 to 23.
The vote triggers Paxton’s immediate suspension from office pending the outcome of a trial in the state Senate and empowers Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to appoint someone else as Texas’ top lawyer in the interim.
Burrows defended his vote with a long statement on Facebook, saying:
Today, following a nearly three month investigation of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the House General Investigating Committee presented a resolution to the full body of the Texas House calling for his impeachment. My vote in support of the resolution is a decision that has weighed very heavily upon me and the members of the Texas House, and I can assure you it is one I did not take lightly.
Impeachment is not the same as a conviction. It simply says I have been presented with enough evidence that I believe the issues need to be tried by a jury, which in this case is the Texas Senate.
It should not get lost in the noise that this is a direct result of the Attorney General asking the legislature in March of this year for $3.3 million of taxpayer money to pay a wrongful termination settlement. This demand came without the necessary supporting information and Texans deserve a closer look by the legislature.
In the case of Paxton, the facts presented are serious and the laws that were allegedly broken serious enough to warrant his removal from office. The allegations, (which everyone I know believes to be true), suggest a pattern of him selling the power of his office for personal gain, including the issuing of subpoenas for someone who employed his mistress. Is this the conduct and character that Texans deserve as their representation?
This was undeniably an important vote and one I did not anticipate having to take. I know Paxton personally, and have applauded many of the things he has done in office; however, I also know that the ends do not always justify the means, and these allegations need to be sorted out. If he is innocent, then he will have a chance to prove his innocence.
At the end of the day, what matters most to me is that Texas continues to be regarded as a state that refuses to tolerate corruption and stands for the highest level of transparency, accountability, and integrity in every public office.
Tepper released this statement on Twitter:
Tepper’s statement reads:
“Today, I voted to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. I’ve done my research, heard arguments for and against this matter, and reviewed correspondence my office received from constituents of House District 84. Upon much thought, prayer, and reflection, this is a decision with which I am comfortable.
“Although Mr. Paxton has done a tremendous job as Texas Attorney General, no one individual--regardless of one’s political affiliation—is above the law. We must continue to preserve and honor the rule of law, even when doing so may be unpopular. I voted to impeach Mr. Paxton not because I believe he is guilty of the allegations brought against him but because I believe enough evidence exists for the Texas Senate to conduct a trial on the allegations. I am confident that my colleagues in the Texas Senate will conduct a fair and honest trial during which each allegation against Mr. Paxton is carefully considered and debated.
“As previously established by the Texas Supreme Court, the purpose of impeachment is not to punish a public official but to protect the state. My vote today ensures we hold Mr. Paxton accountable for the allegations brought against him while ensuring he has the opportunity to address such allegations in a trial. I will continue to pray for Mr. Paxton, his family, and my colleagues in the Texas Senate as they consider this matter. I look forward to holding multiple town halls during the interim with constituents of House District 84 to hear any thoughts they would like to share. My door is always open.”
We’ll continue to update this story as more details are released.
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