DALLAS (CN) — The State Bar of Texas sued embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday, claiming he committed professional misconduct when he tried to void the 2020 election of President Joe Biden by suing to overturn his wins in four states.
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline says it sued Paxton in Collin County after receiving five separate disciplinary complaints against him between December 2020 and July 2021. The complaints came after Paxton asked the U.S. Supreme Court to enjoin Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin for allegedly breaking federal election laws when they each implemented voting changes during the Covid-19 pandemic without the approval of state legislators. The conservative-majority high court dismissed Paxton’s lawsuit 7-2 within days, concluding Texas lacks standing.
“Respondent’s representations were dishonest,” the 6-page complaint states. “His allegations were not supported by any charge, indictment, judicial finding and/or credible or admissible evidence, and failed to disclose to the court that some of his representations and allegations had already by adjudicated and/or dismissed in a court of law.”
The State Bar further claims Paxton misrepresented Texas had “uncovered substantial evidence” calling into question the “integrity of the election process” in the four states.
“Defendant states were required to expend time, money and resources to respond to the misrepresentations and false statements contained in there pleadings and injunction requests even through they had previously certified their presidential electors based on the election results prior to the filing of respondent’s pleadings,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit claims Paxton violated Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 8.04(a)(3), which states “a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonestly, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”
Paxton has been expecting Wednesday’s lawsuit, as one of his prosecutors — Brent Webster — was sued earlier this month by the bar for his involvement in the litigation.
"Texas bar: I'll see you and the leftists that control you in court," Paxton said at the time. "I'll never let you bully me, my staff, or the Texans I represent into backing down or going soft on defending the rule of law — something for which you have little knowledge.”
In retaliation against the bar, Paxton announced the same day the lawsuit against Webster was filed that his office would investigate the Texas State Bar Foundation “for its possibly aiding and abetting the mass influx of illegal aliens” by donating to entities that “fund illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border, and potentially using taxpayer dollars received from the State Bar of Texas, which appoints the foundation’s trustees.”
If the trial court finds Paxton did commit professional misconduct, he faces discipline ranging from a private reprimand up to disbarment.
The lawsuit was filed mere hours after Paxton defeated Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the Republican Party primary runoff for attorney general. Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his campaign centered on getting the attorney general's office away from Paxton’s numerous legal troubles.
Paxton was first elected as attorney general in 2014 and reelected in 2018. In his first year in office, he was indicted on felony securities fraud charges in Collin County for failing to register with the Texas State Securities Board when he was in the state Legislature. Paxton allegedly failing to disclose he would be compensated for peddling shares of local technology company Servergy to investors. The case has been mired in pre-trial for seven years as it has been moved to Harris County and back while Paxton has launched several attempts at having the judge removed.
Seven of Paxton’s senior staff asked federal officials to investigate him for possible bribery and abuse of office in September 2020. Paxton allegedly appointed Houston attorney Brandon Cammack as outside special prosecutor to investigate creditors, the FBI and Texas Rangers on behalf of campaign donor Nate Paul. Cammack later had a Travis County grand jury issue subpoenas against Paul’s creditors. The seven whistleblowers have all since been fired, suspended or resigned.
Paxton has repeatedly denied the criminal charges against him, blaming “leftist” political opponents for retaliating against him for opposing the policies of Biden while supporting the policies of then-President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Paxton in 2016 in federal court in Dallas over the Servergy matter. The trial judge dismissed that suit six months later, finding Paxton “did not have a legal obligation to disclose his financial arrangements” to the 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 head of a company investigated for Medicaid fraud.
In November of 2020, Paxton was accused of having an affair with a woman who he allegedly helped get a job with campaign donor Paul.
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