The Texas State Bar Association has opened a professional standards investigation into Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to determine if Paxton’s attempts to undermine the 2020 presidential election amount to professional misconduct, the Associated Press reports.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Paxton, an ardent Donald Trump supporter, attempted to file a number of lawsuits against other administrations of four other states seeking to disenfranchise the voters to turn the election to Trump’s favor. The cases were turned away by the Supreme Court.
Democratic activists filed a complaint with the state bar, asserting that Paxton’s action constituted a break of professional standards. Although the bar initially denied the complaint, the bar’s Board of Disciplinary Appeals, which hears cases from clients and allied parties against lawyers, has decided to overturn the earlier decision and will open a case.
A complaint filed by Kevin Moran, the 71-year-old president of the Galveston Island Democrats, claims that Paxton violated professional standards by trying to overturn the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, claiming without evidence that the vote totals filed by the states’ election officials were fraudulent. All four states voted for Joe Biden to be President; Paxton sought to have their Electoral College votes either nullified or turned to Trump.
The fact that the Board of Disciplinary Appeals overturned an earlier decision by the bar to decline the complaint is unusual in itself. The Board, made up 12 independent attorneys appointed by the Texas Supreme Court, had only reversed only 7% of case decisions in 2020.
Besides facing a Republican primary fight from Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Paxton is already facing multiple charges that he used his office to financial benefit himself, his friends, and political donors.
The outcome of complaint investigation could take up to six months to decide.