The investigation began in March, after Mr. Paxton, who is also charged with securities fraud, apparently managed to put at least one of his legal problems behind him. He had reached a $3.3 million settlement with four of his top advisers who had sued him, accusing him of corruption and retaliation.
Mr. Paxton had asked the Texas Legislature for the funds to pay for the settlement. But Mr. Phelan, the Speaker of the House, did not support that use of state money, saying he felt Mr. Paxton had not sufficiently explained why the state should fund the deal. The House investigation into the allegations was launched in order to gather information about the funding request, Phelan’s spokeswoman said.
For two days this week, as the committee’s investigation neared its conclusion, Paxton hurled accusations at Phelan, claiming that the speaker presided over a House session last week while drunk. Paxton based his accusation on a video circulated among far-right activists who blame Phelan for the failure of several conservative House bills.
Much of what was brought before the committee about Mr. Paxton was already publicly known from the allegations made in the aides’ lawsuit. Aides also took their complaints about Paxton to the FBI, which is still investigating.
Thursday’s vote yielded the first official judgment on those allegations, finding them sufficient to begin the process of removing Mr. Paxton from office.
The committee also voted to send letters to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Facilities Commission, which manages state property, “to ensure that all evidence relevant to the committee’s investigation” is not “destroyed or concealed.” said Mr. Murr. , the chairman of the committee.
The impeachment vote was the second time this year that the committee recommended the removal of an elected official from office. The first involved a Republican state representative, Bryan Slaton; a committee investigation found that he had slept with a 19-year-old staff member after serving him alcohol.
Mr. Slaton resigned shortly thereafter. The House then voted unanimously to formally oust him and prevent him from holding office in the future.
david montgomery contributed reporting.
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