Debate over impeachment articles against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is scheduled on the House floor at 1p Saturday, according to a memo from the House General Investigating Committee.
Citing Paxton’s “long-standing pattern of abuse of office and public trust,” the memo said it was imperative for the House to proceed with impeachment to prevent Paxton from using his office’s “significant powers” to further obstruct and delay justice.
The committee proposed allocating four hours of debate, evenly divided between supporters and opponents of impeachment, with 40 minutes for opening arguments by committee members and 20 minutes for closing statements. A simple majority is needed to send the matter to a trial before the Texas Senate.
If the House votes to impeach Paxton, the memo said, the House would conduct the trial in the Senate through a group of House members called “managers.”
The committee stressed that Paxton’s request earlier this year for the Legislature to pay $3.3 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit led to its investigation and ultimately the articles of impeachment. The memo also said impeachment is not a criminal process and its primary purpose is to “protect the state, not to punish the offender.”
The memo also addressed arguments by lawyers with the attorney general’s office who called the committee investigation illegal because impeachment proceedings could not be initiated against Paxton for crimes alleged to have occurred before his last election in 2022.
The memo said the so-called “forgiveness doctrine” did not apply in Paxton’s case.
The committee cited the most famous impeachment case in Texas history to support its argument, noting that in 1917, Gov. James Ferguson was impeached on four articles that related to his conduct before and during the 1916 election. The Senate convicted Ferguson on those counts.