President’s Pen – June 2023
Today is the day! The first of many important convention deadlines is today, June 1st. If you haven’t submitted your applications for the NFRW Club Achievement, Caring for America, or Armed Forces awards you have until midnight tonight to submit them.
The 88th regular legislative session is over and as always we saw important legislation passed, but not everything we worked for crossed the finish line. Governor Abbott wasted no time and called the 1st Special Session at 9 p.m. Monday night.
Unfortunately, there were some heartbreaking, emotionally charged, historic events during this session that have caused division and wounds within our party.
The expulsion of Representative Bryan Slaton was painful but was needed for the integrity of the House and the honor of staff members of the Texas Legislature. Governor Abbott set the date of November 7th for a special election to fill this vacant seat.
The second event, in the closing days of the 88th legislative session, was the Texas House General Investigating Committee’s investigation of Attorney General Ken Paxton. This investigation led to 20 articles of impeachment and the historic vote in the House for his impeachment.
According to the report, in 2020, multiple senior aides of the Attorney General, many of whom were appointed by Paxton himself, reported to the FBI their concerns that General Paxton was misusing his office. These aides were fired, and they filed a Whistleblower Action against General Paxton. General Paxton filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but his motion was denied. The trial court’s denial was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Rather than let the case proceed, and without allowing any discovery in the case, General Paxton agreed to settle the litigation with a payment of $3.3 million funded by the State.
General Paxton was invited to provide testimony before the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations that presumably were seeking information about the litigation and the settlement; however, he declined to testify before either committee.
His request to use taxpayer funds for this settlement sparked the investigation and despite the General’s conservative record fighting for our state and our rights, the House determined there was sufficient evidence to send the issue to trial in the Texas Senate, which will begin later this summer.
Many have reached out stating concern that the process the Texas House followed was not fair, illegal, or unconstitutional. However, as others have noted, the House Investigating Committee followed the process outlined under the law, (Government Code-Legislative Branch) the House Rules (House Rules – 88th Legislature) the Texas Constitution. Texas Constitution Article 15 Impeachment.
The committee hired several experienced attorneys and investigators with a background in white collar crimes to conduct the investigation. They interviewed witnesses and reviewed available information. The committee examined the facts before them. (Hearing Transcript Inv re: Paxton) They presented a recommendation to the body and the body voted.
General Paxton was temporarily removed from office while he awaits trial in the Senate. Governor Abbott has appointed John Scott to serve as Acting Attorney General. The Texas Senate has set a date for the trial to be no later than August 28th of this year and has appointed a bipartisan committee of seven members to make recommendations for the rules of the trial. The seven-member board will begin meeting June 20th.
I read as much as possible in preparation for this message. I encourage everyone to study the materials for themselves, make up their own minds, and respectfully let your Senators know how you feel about the situation.
In my reading, I came across two articles regarding the impeachment and the division within our party in more liberal publications. The article links are below, and I hope you will read for yourself their views on our party. (The Lone Star Left) (Texas Tribune)
Regardless of how we feel about this and other matters, 2024 is around the corner and we will need the support of ALL Republicans and many independents for a Republican victory in 2024.
There is more than one way forward—different organizations can utilize different strategies, but we must unite. Together we can continue to make Texas the leader of principled, conservative governance.
I thank you again for the honor of serving you.
Building Strong Leaders for Texas,