Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached a tentative settlement in the whistleblower lawsuit that four of his top aides brought against him, but it’s contingent on the Texas legislature approving $3.3 million in state funds to the quartet. State Rep. Jeff Leach, who chairs the committee that oversees the attorney general’s office, made it clear he still needs to be persuaded, saying Friday, “I’ve spoken with the Attorney General directly this morning and communicated in no uncertain terms that, on behalf of our constituents, legislators will have questions and legislators will expect answers.”
These four aides previously accused Paxton of retaliating after they told the FBI in the fall of 2020 that their boss had used his office to aid a wealthy ally named Nate Paul in exchange for favors. Among other things, they alleged that Paul hired a woman upon Paxton’s recommendation that the attorney general was having an affair. (Paxton’s wife is state Sen. Angela Paxton, who would have a vote in whether the legislature approves the financial part of the settlement.)
Under this agreement, the attorney general “accepts that plaintiffs acted in a manner that they thought was right and apologizes for referring to them as ‘rogue employees,’” though neither side would admit fault or liability. The FBI has not charged Paxton in the Paul matter, and it’s not clear if the investigation is active. Paxton was charged with securities fraud all the way back in 2015 in a separate case, but the trial still hasn’t even been scheduled and he’s won re-election twice while under indictment.