The Associated Press just dropped a big story about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who seven years ago posed for the above photograph taken in the Collin County Jail. I’ll return to that county in a bit, but first here are some highlights from the AP. Just the facts:
Bad guys go free: “In the small town of Gatesville, the fallout [from disorganization in the AG’s office] was felt this month with the collapse of cases dubbed ‘Operation Fallen Angel.’ Six of the people indicted last year on allegations that they were involved in a scheme to force teenage girls to ‘exchange sexual contact for crystal methamphetamine’ are now free. ‘It’s absolutely broken. It’s just broken. You don’t do it this way,’ Republican District Attorney Dusty Boyd said of the attorney general’s office, which took over the cases from his five-lawyer team. “I made the mistake of trusting them that they would come in and do a good job.'”
Staffing shortages: “One prosecutor said he quit in January after supervisors pressured him to withhold evidence in a murder case. Another attorney signed a resignation letter in March that warned of growing hostility toward LGBTQ employees. By August, records show the division over human trafficking cases—a major emphasis in Texas, where more than 50 migrants died in the back of a trailer in June—had a job vacancy rate of 40%.”
Hanky-panky: “[I]n autumn 2020 … eight of Paxton’s top deputies accused the attorney general of using the office to help a political donor who employed a woman with whom Paxton acknowledged having had an extramarital affair. The deputies all quit or were fired after going to the FBI, which opened an investigation that remains ongoing.”
Insanity: “Tom Kelly Gleason, a former ice cream company owner whose father gave $50,000 to the attorney general’s legal defense fund [and who was hired in a senior role], … was fired less than two months into his new job as a law enforcement adviser. Paxton’s office has not disclosed why, but three people with knowledge of the matter said Gleason included child pornography in a work presentation at the agency’s Austin headquarters. The people said Gleason displayed the video—which one of them described as showing a man raping a small child—in a misguided effort to underscore agency investigators difficult work.”
I’ll stop there. You should read the entire AP story. It leads one to wonder about Abraham George, chairman of the Collin County Republican Party. Here is how George assesses Paxton’s first two terms: “He’s been one of the greatest attorneys general for the state of Texas and one of the most conservative ones in the entire country.”
If you agree with George, then Paxton deserves a third term. Election day is Tuesday, November 8.