Tag Archives: Ken Paxton

And this Ladies and Gentlemen is Your Top Legal Official in Texas

VOTER FRAUD ALERT: The discovered approx 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in TX, approx 58,000 of whom have voted in TX elections. Any illegal vote deprives Americans of their voice.

All of which is an utter and complete fabrication brought to you by an AG facing criminal prosecution for deceptive activity.   Red is still waiting for the retraction.

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Ken Paxton Wants More Power to Prosecute Abortion Crimes – But Has No Evidence that Such Crimes Are Being Committed

Indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (still awaiting trial) is polishing up his conservative bona fides by claiming that local prosecutors are not going after abortion related crimes.   Paxton is going to the Legislature seeking funding and authority for his office to prosecute abortion-related crimes – something that is currently left to local prosecutors.  Paxton cites an agreement between 5 large county district attorneys in claiming that Texas law is not being enforced by local prosecutors.  This appears to be wrong on two fronts.  First, the DA’s agreement was made in connection with ongoing litigation over a 2017 state abortion law.  Five of the district attorneys in the eight Texas counties that actually have abortion facilities said they would not enforce the challenged portions of the law while the issue of constitutionality was being litigated.  There never was a permanent agreement to not enforce the law – it was a “wait and see” while the challenges to the law were working their way through the courts.  Second, Paxton produced no actual evidence of any abortion-related crimes.  Travis County DA Margaret Moore who has jurisdiction over several abortion facilities has indicated that she is not aware of a single abortion-related complaint that could be investigated or prosecuted.

 

Abbott’s Phony List of Illegal Voters Falls Apart

Greg Abbott’s most recent choice for Texas Secretary of State, David Whitley, put out a list of 95,000 Texas voters which it claimed were not U.S. citizens.  Upon even slight investigation, the phony list – obviously intended to pump up Abbott’s Tea Party bona fides – began to quickly fall apart.  In announcing the list, Whitley and indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that the list was put out as part of a fight against fraudulent voting.  Individual 1 a/k/a Trumph – the Insult Comic President and other denizens of the far right have insisted that illegal voting and voter fraud are serious problems despite the lack of any real evidence of in-person voter fraud and the Texas GOP is obviously eager to back him up.

It turns out that many names on the list were of people who registered when getting a Texas Driver’s License – a process that requires applicants to establish their citizenship –  or registered at a naturalization ceremony – which should need no explanation, that is  to anyone other than Our Poor Idiot Governor.  When that was revealed, the list quickly started falling apart.  In Harris County, almost 60% of the names on a 30,000 voter list were almost immediately removed.  Odds are that the vast majority of the remaining names will turn up nothing as well.

To their credit, most of the local county tax-assessor collectors (still in charge of registering voters as a legacy of the Jim Crow era poll taxes) have tread very carefully and seem intent on protecting the rights of Texas voters – unlike OPIG and his flunkies.

So OPIG has spent a lot of taxpayer money and effort in a process which might reveal that a handful of Texas voters were not actually authorized to vote.   If the Texas GOP clearly stands for one thing – it stands for voter suppression.

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

Still embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached another low point in his quest to dismantle the very low ethical standards Texas imposes on its political class.  Paxton is refusing to defend the Texas Ethics Commission in a lawsuit filed against it by one of Paxton’s major campaign contributors.   Empower Texas an Astroturf organization funded and chaired Tim Dunn, a Midland based oil and gas developer, is seeking to strip the TEC of its powers to regulate and monitor campaign spending and financing in Texas.  The TEC requires candidates to report their campaign contributions, loans and expenditures on a regular basis in order for the public to know who is greasing the political wheels in Texas.  The AG’s office is typically required to defend state agencies when they are sued but has some discretion to decline to do so.  Why would Paxton not defend the TEC?  Other than his own well-reported ethical problems, it turns out that Dunn and Empower Texas are Paxton’s biggest source of campaign cash.  According to the Houston Chronicle:

Since 2014, Paxton’s campaign has received $377,000 from the Empower Texans PAC, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the commission. Empower Texans also secured a $1 million loan for Paxton’s campaign in 2014, and Dunn is Paxton’s largest donor, shelling out $405,000 since 2014, records show.

Well, perhaps it is a good thing that an attorney as apparently ethically challenged as Paxton is not defending the case as he might just botch the effort by accident.  The result, however, is that the taxpayers will be out about $600,000 for outside counsel hired by the TEC which is a huge hit for the agency and detracts from their mission.  The Houston Chronicle has the full story here.

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.”

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.