Ever since Republican Ken Paxton became the Attorney General of Texas in 2015, he’s been doing everything in his power to tear down the wall between church and state.
He said that government workers who are Christian should be allowed to discriminate against gay people. He defended “In God We Trust” stickers on cop cars and ambulances… and defended a sheriff who put literal crosses on his government vehicles. (That sheriff eventually paid a hefty price in a legal settlement.) He also defended courthouses with Christian crosses in the windows.
He argued that students “cannot unilaterally refuse” to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
You get the idea. He’s a Christian Nationalist who has used his elected office to promote his religion over the law at every turn.
And, like clockwork, whenever conservative Christians start touting their faith as central to their government work, you can bet there’s something shady happening in the background.
Now we’re learning about Paxton’s secrets.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Paxton’s top aides are accusing him of bribery, abuse of office, and several other federal crimes.
In a one-page letter to the state agency’s director of human resources, obtained Saturday by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, seven executives in the upper tiers of the office said that they are seeking the investigation into Paxton “in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas.”
The Thursday letter said that each “has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement.”
“We have a good faith belief that the attorney general is violating federal and/or state law including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses,” the letter states.
One of the most shocking things about that? The letter was signed by First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer — a guy who used to work for conservative legal defense group First Liberty Institute, believes church/state separation is a liberal hoax, and once said transgender kids were part of “Satan’s Plan.” Mateer resigned on Friday and said he will now work for a “conservative nonprofit law firm helping to nominate judges to federal courts.”
In other words, he’s still just as awful as ever… but somehow, he worked up enough courage to sign a letter condemning Paxton.
Whether this will lead to Paxton’s resignation, who knows. But he won’t be able to use his usual Christian Persecution defense. This time, even conservatives are calling out his bad behavior. It’s not the first time Paxton has been accused of wrongdoing, but these charges appear to be far more serious.