In their 2020 letter, Mr. Paxton’s aides said that he had committed bribery, abuse of office and other “potential criminal offenses.” Four of the aides also brought their concerns to the F.B.I. and Texas Rangers.
According to legal filings in the case, the four aides had also relayed their concerns to the attorney general’s office; several weeks later, they were all fired. The aides filed suit after that, accusing Mr. Paxton of retaliating against them.
As the case proceeded, Mr. Paxton’s office produced a 374-page report that concluded, “A.G. Paxton committed no crime.” He has also challenged the suit, but a Texas court of appeals has ruled against him. In February, Mr. Paxton agreed to pay $3.3 million in a settlement with the four former senior aides.
How did that lead to the possibility of impeachment?
Questions over how to pay the settlement prompted more investigation into the 2020 allegations.
Mr. Paxton asked the Texas Legislature for the funds to pay the $3.3 million. Dade Phelan, the Republican House speaker, who is seen as a traditional conservative, did not support that use of state money. A House investigation into the allegations was begun in order to gather information about the funding request, Mr. Phelan’s spokeswoman said.
Many of the investigators’ findings about Mr. Paxton were already known publicly, from the allegations made in the aides’ lawsuit. But the House committee vote on Thursday rendered the first official judgment on those allegations: They were, legislators said, enough to begin the process of removing Mr. Paxton from office.
What do the articles of impeachment say?
The committee filed 20 articles of impeachment against Mr. Paxton on Thursday. As they were being handed out around the House chamber, Andrew Murr, the chairman of the committee and a Republican, said that they described “grave offenses.”
The articles charge Mr. Paxton with a litany of abuses including taking bribes, disregarding his official duty, obstructing justice in a separate securities fraud case pending against him, making false statements on official documents and reports, and abusing the public trust.