Paxton’s acquittal has nothing to do with justice — and everything with money

Paxton’s acquittal has nothing to do with justice — and everything with money

Joe Jaworski writes:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has spent his eight-year incumbency living on the political edge of scandal, was just acquitted in his historic Texas Senate impeachment trial.

The Texas Senate voted largely along party lines, with only two Republican senators bravely voting to convict on virtually all sixteen articles of impeachment. The Texas Constitution requires a supermajority vote to convict on any article of impeachment, and the impeachment prosecutors came up short on each article.

Kudos to Paxton’s lawyers, but he’s back in office thanks largely to a multi-million dollar juror intimidation campaign paid for by Defend Texas Liberty, a Texas campaign PAC funded largely by oil and gas millionaires Tim Dunn and Faris Wilks.

Dunn and Wilks, through their PAC, made generous contributions to decision-makers, paid for old-school mailers and billboards to intimidate rural Texas senators sitting as jurors in the Texas Senate Court of Impeachment, and set aside a handsome budget to pay $50 a tweet to eligible social media trolls who tweeted or posted pro-Paxton propaganda. It was common in the weeks leading up to and during the two-week trial to see hundreds of freshly enrolled members of the X community (with fewer than ten followers) who robustly defended their martyred MAGA attorney general.

Presiding Judge Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (he’s neither a lawyer nor a judge) collected a $1 million dollar campaign contribution and a $2 million forgivable loan from Defend Texas Liberty back in June before the trial, and inquiring minds want to know what the loan terms are. Whatever the terms, one thing is for sure: If the campaign contribution was made by its donors to encourage a certain outcome, and to advertise the power of their purse for any senators who stray off script, the contributions seem to have had the desired effect. [Continue reading…]

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