(The Center Square) – The Republican Party of Texas, since May 27, has argued the Texas House voting to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton is a sham and illegal. On Monday, it called on the Senate to throw out the impeachment vote altogether.
Members of the Texas GOP’s executive leadership team on Saturday also passed a resolution condemning the House vote and called on the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment with prejudice and allow Paxton to “promptly resume his duties as the duly elected Attorney General.”
They did so ahead of the Senate announcing its rules for governing a trial, which is expected Tuesday.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Texas GOP said, “As we’ve said before, this sham impeachment is the result of Speaker [Dade] Phelan’s leadership team empowering Democrats, allowing them to hold leadership positions and letting them control the agenda. It is based on allegations already litigated by voters, led by a liberal Speaker trying to undermine his conservative adversaries, and investigated by lawyers connected to a Democrat on the House General Investigations Committee. The voters have supported General Paxton through three elections – and his popularity has only grown despite millions of dollars spent trying to defeat him. Now the Texas House wants to overturn the election results. We hope the Senate quickly dismisses this impeachment.”
The House impeached Paxton “without considering direct evidence, without allowing legislators to interview or cross-examine witnesses, without placing witnesses under oath, without allowing members to talk to investigators, without making witness transcripts available to legislators, without subpoenaing witnesses with direct knowledge of allegations, and without allowing the Attorney General present a defense,” it continued.
“We, at the Republican Party of Texas, have made our position very clear. We oppose these articles of impeachment because Texas law forbids them,” it said.
Described by many Texans as “Republicans-in-name-only” who voted for impeachment, the Texas GOP said these members may disagree with Republican voters who reelected Paxton three times but “in our country, voters – not legislators – choose those who hold elected office. It’s truly that clear, and our hope is that the conservative Texas Senate will do what is right and stop the rogue Texas House in its tracks.”
Members of the Texas GOP Senate Republican Executive Committee passed the resolution by a vote of 53-11, according to a livestream of the vote posted on its Facebook page. The Texas GOP also provided The Center Square with a copy of the draft resolution they voted on, which states the impeachment vote “occurred under illegal circumstances.”
The House General Investigating Committee “admitted that none of the witnesses who provided information to that committee were placed under oath before giving their statements as required by Texas Government Code §301.022,” the resolution states.
The committee also included at least six articles of impeachment “based on events alleged to have taken place before January 1, 2023, the first day of Attorney General Paxton’s current term. Such events may not serve to support impeachment per Texas Government Code §665.081 and nearly one hundred years of Supreme Court precedent beginning with Reeves v. State, 267 S.W. 666 (Tex. 1924).”
Neither the GIC nor the full House allowed Paxton to present evidence or to cross-examine witnesses, which the resolution states “is contrary to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution Amendments V and VI and to the precedent established by the Texas House of Representatives in the 1975-76 Carrillo impeachment proceeding.”
Without due process and the rule of law, the SREC members warned that America’s free society would become “nothing more than a banana republic.” And it’s “the sincere desire of the Republican Party of Texas that the State of Texas not become a banana republic,” the resolution states.
It also states the articles of impeachment “are unsupported by competent and admissible evidence and are an affront to the presumption of innocence.”
Jill Glover, SREC SD 12 Chair Legislative Priorities Committee, who voted for the resolution, told The Center Square, “Many of us had been receiving feedback from constituents in our district that they were absolutely appalled by the House taking the action that it did on Memorial Day weekend, with no advance notice, the committee didn’t swear in witnesses, and representatives saw no evidence before their vote.”
Rep. Justin Holland, R-Rockwall, who voted to impeach Paxton, criticized the resolution vote, tweeting, “Nobody (in real TX politics) cares about the SREC or its chair. It’s a defunct organization and needs a total re-haul from the top down. Local parties are AWOL. It’s a mess. The good news is that they are all irrelevant and have no local/state respect. We can win without them.”