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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 7, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 31
Texas Attorney General arrested, booked on felony charges
Section One
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Texas Attorney General arrested, booked on felony charges

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was arrested and booked on three counts of felony securities fraud August 3. The charges were announced July 31 when grand jury findings against Paxton were unsealed.

As Attorney General, Paxton continued the anti-Gay policies of his predecessor, Greg Abbott. Abbott was elected Governor in 2014 when Paxton was elected Attorney General.

On June 28, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage, Paxton urged county clerks to refuse marriage licenses to Gay and Lesbian couples.

'Numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights,' Paxton said at the time.

The charges, which stem from Paxton's stint as a Texas state legislator, date to a 2011 attempt to sell stock in Servergy Inc., an energy company. The details were well-known in Texas.

'There's little surprise in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's felony indictments for securities fraud and failing to register with the state to sell securities,' the Houston Chronicle editorialized after Paxton was arrested.

'The longtime lawmaker's legal troubles have been public knowledge for some time. During the 2014 election season, political watchers routinely warned voters about Paxton's record of insider dealings and kickbacks. As we wrote during the primary runoff: 'Voters shouldn't want a lawyer-in-chief who will confront the wrong end of a grand jury on day one.'

One of Paxton's own state House colleagues filed the complaint against him, charging that Paxton had tried to sell more than $600,000 worth of Servergy stock to Texas House members without disclosing that he had been paid with 100,000 shares of the stock.

Paxton also told his colleagues that he had invested in Servergy himself when he had not, court documents said. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa demanded Paxton's resignation.

'He needs to spare Texas the embarrassment of a drawn-out legal fight in the public eye, take responsibility and accept the consequences,' Hinojosa said. 'It is time to restore the public trust. It is time for a Republican to finally act responsibly.'

Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based watchdog group that filed a criminal complaint against Paxton last year, also called for Paxton to step down.

'He's abused the faith in his public office and, according to the indictments, he's engaged in outright deception for his personal profit, and that's why we think he should step aside,' the group's Director, Craig McDonald, said.

Paxton's attorney said that after his client posted bond, he returned to Austin, the state capital, 'to focus on his work on behalf of the citizens of Texas.'

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