Tag Archives: Ken Paxton

A Justice for Sale in Austin?

A Republican candidate for the Third Court of Appeals in Austin is stretching what are traditionally considered the limits for appropriate campaigning.  Mike Toth a card carrying Tea Party member and protégé of embattled AG Ken Paxton is embracing Donald Trump and conservative identity politics in his campaign for a seat on the influential Austin Court of Appeals.  Despite being in Austin, the Court is firmly in Republican hands because it covers a 28 county area stretching all the way to San Angelo.  Toth is also accepting contributions in excess of the standard $5000 limit.  Judicial candidates in Texas typically pledge to not accept contributions over $5000 as anything more than that gives the appearance of buying justice.  Toth is apparently blowing through that limit and accepting gifts of money for the education of his children from a Florida lawyer, as well as embracing our Realty TV Show President.  The Texas Tribune has more.

Candidate Michael Toth, a special counsel in the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton, has pulled in $151,000 so far in the 3rd Court of Appeals GOP primary contest, and more than a third of it comes from out of state, records show.

[O]ne of Toth’s major non-Texas donors, former hedge fund manager John Thaler of Greenwich, Connecticut, has notified the Texas Ethics Commission that he plans to exceed a $5,000 expenditure cap the candidates agreed to; that allows Toth’s opponents to ignore donation and expenditure limits.

Toth isn’t shy about touting his Tea Party bonafides and running on the same issues that non-judicial candidates use to attract Republican primary voters. In one mailer, Toth brags that he fought for “tougher border security, defended President Trump’s travel ban, sued to crack down on sanctuary cities” and “supported extreme vetting of refugees.”

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips, a Republican, said he’d “never seen anything quite like” the mailer Toth sent out.

“I’m concerned anytime a judicial candidate suggests, even indirectly, that his or her election will lead to a particular policy outcome,” Phillips said. “To conduct a campaign based on your view of hot-button political issues confuses rather than than enlightens the electorate.”

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In Texas, It’s a Felony to Harbor an Illegal Alien – But What Does that Mean?

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a Texas law that makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years to harbor illegal aliens.  The ruling lifted an injunction that had blocked the 2015 law from taking full effect, in a ruling praised by both the state and immigrant advocates.

The law makes it a felony to encourage unauthorized immigrants to enter or remain in the country by concealing, harboring or shielding that person from detection.  Two landlords had sued to prevent enforcement arguing that the law was overly broad and could apply to people who rent apartments and homes to undocumented immigrants.  Texas argued that the law was intended to apply only to alien smuggling and human trafficking operations.  But that wasn’t the way the law was written and  – given the near total control of the State by the Red Meat Wing of the Republican Party – it was an open question as to who could be prosecuted.

The Fifth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Jerry Smith, cleared the air by holding that the law as written does not apply to persons who provide shelter to or conduct business with illegal aliens.

“There is no reasonable interpretation by which merely renting housing or providing social services to an illegal alien constitutes ‘harboring … that person from detection.'”

Thus, landlords and homeless shelters cannot be prosecuted.  Here, the Fifth Circuit saved the bacon of the pathetic excuse for an Attorney General that is Ken Paxton by issuing a ruling that saves the statute but likely does not accomplish what the Tea Party dominated State House really wanted.

One Down – 4,999,999 to go!

Donald Trump’s claim that he would have won the popular vote but for the millions of people who voted illegally finally got some legs last week.  Yep, Texas found someone who voted illegally – but not in 2016. Rosa Maria Ortega was convicted in Fort Worth last week on two felony counts of illegal voting over allegations that she improperly cast a ballot five times between 2005 and 2014. Ortega was a legal permanent resident who was brought to the U.S. as a baby and mistakenly thought she was eligible to vote.  And she foolishly voted Republican, including for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office helped prosecute her.  That’s gratitude for you.

Ortega received a harsh sentence of 8 years – likely due to the hubbub caused by Trump with his claims of widespread voter fraud.  Ortega has been in the U.S. since infancy and has four teenage children.  Since this is a felony conviction, Ortega will likely be deported after serving her sentence.  Another example of the pro-family policies of the GOP.

Red is just waiting for the 4,999,999 other cases of illegal voting that would establish Trump could have easily won the popular vote – but he is not holding his breath.

Servergy Sued Again for Fraud

Servergy, Inc. – the company at the center of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal woes – has been sued by a group of Alabama investors who claim they were defrauded into purchasing shares of the company.  The suit alleges that Servergy made numerous misrepresentations about its business to entice new investors to buy into the company.  The investors claim that Servergy made unsupported claims about the sales of its signature product  – a small server – and represented that IBM and other giants were poised to buy the company.  Paxton himself brought investors to the table without revealing that he was getting a commission.  Tea Party favorite Paxton never bought into the company but did receive 100,000 shares as a gift that he somehow forgot to put on his tax returns and his required disclosures with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Ken Paxton Butts in Again

Vexatious litigant and embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed another lawsuit to waste taxpayer dollars and deflect attention from his own considerable legal woes.   Paxton is suing the City of Austin for an alleged violation of the state’s open carry law by banning guns from its city hall, according to the Austin American-Statesman.  Red predicts that Mr. P will fail in his efforts to coerce Austin into complying with his Tea Party and NRA agenda.  The language of the open carry law provides that guns can be prohibited in courts or “offices utilized by the court.”  Austin’s city hall (and many others in Texas) frequently hold various types of court proceedings.  Austin temple of local democracy, for example, hosts a community court for low-level offenders, and the City based its gun ban on that fact. Whether that’s actually a court is an open question. Three weeks ago, Paxton issued a non-binding AG’s opinion claiming there is no court in Austin’s city hall and threatened to sue Austin unless it blinked first.  City officials apparently had little respect for the legal stylings of an indicted AG.  Paxton, ever eager for a spotlight that will cement his Tea Party bona fides has now sued.

Looking to Lower Your Ethical Standards? Just Follow Ken Paxton’s Lead.

Embattled but apparently unashamed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may have reached a new ethical low in his fight to stave off a criminal conviction.  Paxton  is reported to have accepted a $100,000 gift to help pay for his own criminal defense from the head of a medical-imaging company that his office investigated for Medicaid fraud.

Preferred Imaging founder James Webb gave Paxton at least $100,000 to help cover his mounting criminal defense bills.  Now Red thinks everyone is entitled to a good criminal defense and very few actually get one.  But when you are the state’s top legal official, it is more than a little suspicious when you are taking large amounts of money from someone your office is investigating.

Be prepared for the usual side-stepping and soft shoe from Paxton as he dances around yet another ethical minefield.  Despite the fact that Webb’s company settled a $3.5 million whistleblower lawsuit this month, Paxton is now claiming that federal prosecutors took the lead and that he had no direct involvement. No involvement other than to cash the check, that is.  Of course, Webb expected nothing in return for his largess.  And if you believer that, Red has Republican presidential nominee to sell you.

 

Paxton’s Pals Pay to Keep Politician out of Pokey

“Friends” of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave him almost $330,000 to help pay for his legal defense against felony securities fraud charges, according to Paxton’s most recent filing with the Texas Ethics Commission.   Paxton’s personal financial statement establishes that he is funding a high-profile criminal defense team with the help of so-called friends and associates.  And not a single one of those friends and/or associates expects a single favor in return for helping keep Paxton out of the pokey.

 Paxton is using a loophole in the state ethics laws that allow state officials to keep gifts from people who are allegedly not seeking anything in return.  Under state bribery laws, elected officials are not allowed to receive gifts from people or entities subject to their authority.  But as attorney general, Paxton has authority over a wide range of legal issues and controls the state’s largest law department   Nonetheless,  Paxton sought an exception allowing “gifts from family members and those ‘independent’ of an officeholder’s ‘official status.’” In essence if this passes muster, Paxton will be allowed to tap a few rich folks for unlimited sums of cash to pay his attorneys based on the idea that none of these folks have an interest in getting anything in return because they are long time friends, buddies, pals and confidants of the state’s embattled top lawyer.
And Red has a bridge to sell you.