Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton just can’t avoid the spotlight – or perhaps thinks that getting his office involved in a matter that doesn’t concern the State of Texas will divert the people’s attention from his own legal problems. This time, Paxton is using Texas taxpayer money to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of Exxon-Mobil – an outfit that typically is thought capable of carrying its own legal water.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Attorney General, Claude Walker, is seeking documents from Exxon related to an investigation into whether the energy giant covered up its internal investigation into climate change and misled shareholders about the impact of climate change on the company’s bottom line. In that regard, the USVI issued a subpoena. Exxon sued in Tarrant County district court seeking to quash the subpoena. Paxton’s office filed a brief in support of Exxon. Paxton decried the USVI’s attorney general’s investigation as “ridiculous” and a “fishing expedition of the worst kind.” Kowtowing to his base in prototypical TeaPartySpeak, Paxton described the subpoena as “an effort to punish Exxon for daring to hold an opinion on climate change that differs from that of radical environmentalists.”
Red could probably not care less about whether Exxon has to cough up some documents or whether it was less than forthcoming with respect to its investigations into climate change. Red does care about the limited resources of the Texas AG’s office being used for blatantly political purposes and to help line the coffers of Paxton’s re-election campaign fund. Paxton was a major recipient of donations from the energy industry and his intervention in this matter in the week before Exxon’s annual shareholders’ meeting seems just a little too coincidental. Texas has had some pathetic excuses for an AG before, but Paxton is putting the bar so low that no future AG will ever be able to limbo under it.