DALLAS (CN) — Two anonymous sources claim that Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had an affair with a woman whom he later helped get a job with a campaign donor who is tied to criminal corruption allegations against him.
The sources, who fear retaliation and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, alleged Paxton admitted the affair to his senior staff in 2018. Paxton allegedly said he ended the affair and that the mistress worked for an unidentified Republican state senator. Paxton’s wife is state Senator Angela Paxton, R-McKinney. The sources said Paxton and his wife walked into the meeting holding hands, saying he was recommitted to his marriage.
The disclosure was reportedly made due to it being an election year and concern it would become public. Paxton went on to defeat Democrat Justin Nelson with 50.6% of the vote.
According to the Associated Press, Austin real estate developer and Republican campaign donor Nate Paul said in a deposition this week that Paxton recommended the woman to him for a job but Paul explicitly denied he hired her as a favor to the attorney general. Paul was being deposed in a civil case against several of his companies.
Staffers for Paxton and his wife did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday evening.
Paul’s lawyer, Michael Wynne, said his client has hundreds of employees and he cannot “ invade their privacy including to inquire about their personal lives” under state and federal law.
The bombshell allegations come one month after seven of Paxton’s senior staff members revolted against him, reporting him to federal officials to investigate possible bribery and abuse of office charges for investigating creditors, the FBI and Texas Rangers on Paul’s behalf. Paxton had appointed Houston attorney Brandon Cammack as an outside special prosecutor to handle the investigation. Cammack had a Travis County grand jury issue subpoenas against Paul’s creditors in September.
“We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influences, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses,” the staffers’ one-page letter dated Oct. 1 stated. “Each signatory below has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement authority.”
Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in 2018. Federal Election Commission records show Paul has also been a frequent donor to other Republicans since, including U.S. Representatives Chip Roy and Michael McCaul, U.S. Senator John Cornyn and the WinRed political action committee.
The seven whistleblowers have all since been fired, suspended or resigned. Six of the whistleblowers have since made formal complaints to human resources that they were retaliated against by being blocked from meetings and being subjected to a hostile work environment.
Paxton campaign spokesman Ian Prior disputed those claims Thursday, stating the whistleblowers are under investigation for “making false representations to the court, illegally leaking grand jury materials and violating numerous agency policies.” He dismissed them as “desperate former employees trying to spin a false narrative” to disrupt Paxton’s office.
Few of Paxton’s fellow Republicans have dared to demand his resignation. Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Gan Patrick refused to comment when the corruption allegations were first made last month, stating they will comment only after an investigation is complete.
Roy, who served as Paxton’s first assistant until he was asked to resign in 2015, tweeted last month that Paxton must resign “for the good of the people of Texas and the extraordinary public servants” in his office and that the allegations “are more than trouble on the merits.”
State Representative Sarah Davis, R-Houston, also urged Paxton to resign, stating he should leave to devote his time to his personal legal matters if he cannot quickly address the allegations.
Paxton was forced to close the Paul investigation on Oct. 9 when Republican Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore called him out, stating “newly surfaced information raises serious concerns about the integrity of your investigation and the propriety of your conducting it.” Moore had confirmed one day earlier that Paxton personally approached her office with Paul and Paul’s attorney to complain about the FBI and Rangers investigation into Paul, resulting in Moore referring the complaint back to Paxton’s office on June 10.
Skepticism of Paxton’s ethics have followed him for five years. A Collin County grand jury charged Paxton in August 2015 with two first-degree felony counts of securities fraud and a third-degree felony count of failing to register with the Texas State Securities Board from his time in the Texas House.
Prosecutors claim Paxton urged investors to put $600,000 into technology firm Servergy without disclosing he would earn a commission and misrepresented he was investing in the McKinney-based company.
Paxton faces up to 99 years in state prison if convicted. The criminal case has been stuck in pretrial for over five years as the case has been moved to Harris County and back while Paxton has launched several attempts at having the judge removed.
Paxton has repeatedly denied the criminal charges against him, blaming his political opponents for retaliating against him for opposing policies by then-President Barack Obama.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a similar civil lawsuit against Paxton in April 2016 in federal court in Dallas over the Servergy matter. A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit six months later, finding Paxton “did not have a legal obligation to disclose his financial arrangements” to the firm’s investors. One year later, a Dallas-area district attorney launched an ethics probe into Paxton accepting a $100,000 gift for his legal defense fund from James Webb, the leader of a company that was being investigated for Medicaid fraud.