AUSTIN, TX — State Rep. Drew Darby (R-72) was among the 121 state representatives who voted “yea” to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton. Voting against the impeachment were 23 nays. Two representatives voted “present.”
Below is a statement from Rep. Drew Darby regarding the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton:
After listening to the thorough debate in the Texas House this afternoon and reviewing the comprehensive investigative materials provided by the House Committee on General Investigating, I cast my vote in favor of impeaching Attorney General Ken Paxton. This decision was not made lightly, as I support many of General Paxton's efforts to curb federal overreach. However, I firmly believe that the decision the House made embodies the principles of the people of House District 72 and the State of Texas, and the values we expect from our elected officials.
The Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that the primary purpose of impeachment is to protect the state, rather than punish the offender. In an impeachment proceeding, it is the duty of the House of Representatives to determine whether sufficient evidence warrants further legal proceedings in the Texas Senate. I am confident that the evidence presented today in the House justifies impeachment.
The evidence is explicit and undisputed that Attorney General Paxton blatantly and continually abused his office and power for personal gain. Time and time again, General Paxton put his own interests above that of Texans. His actions are an unequivocal breach of public trust in the Office of the Attorney General. As legislators, it is our responsibility to ensure that such actions from the chief law enforcement officer in Texas are neither tolerated nor defended.
The investigation by the House Committee on General Investigating began in March of this year when Attorney General Paxton asked the Texas Legislature to allocate $3.3 million of your taxpayer dollars to pay a wrongful termination settlement with several whistleblowers from his office. The lack of supporting documentation and his unwillingness to explain the necessity for this demand raised serious questions about his motives, prompting the General Investigating Committee to delve deeper into the matter.
What the General Investigating Committee uncovered was deeply concerning—evidence of disregard of official duty, misapplication of public resources, bribery, obstruction of justice, and dereliction of duty, among other serious allegations. These grave charges cannot be ignored. Hence, today, the full House was presented with 20 Articles of Impeachment. The evidence is compelling and demands further review by the Texas Senate where General Paxton will be afforded the opportunity to defend himself. To date, General Paxton has not denied any of the allegations.
Let me be clear: This is not about personality or political disagreement. The foundation of our great state is built upon the rule of law, where no one, not even the highest law enforcement officer, is above it. Based on the information presented, I support the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton and the subsequent full trial by the Senate.
Our commitment to justice and the preservation of our democratic values compels us to hold our elected officials accountable. By taking a stand against abuse of power, we can restore the trust that Texans place in their government. Together, let us ensure that the Office of the Attorney General and every elected official upholds the highest standards of integrity and serves the best interests of all Texans.
Paxton’s impeachment stems from a request from his Office of the Attorney General to have the Texas House pay a $3.3 million judgement against him for firing four whistleblowers who accused the attorney general of misconduct. The House Investigating Committee took up an in-depth investigation of Paxton in March that set the ball rolling towards today’s historic impeachment vote.
Darby is aligned with the House leadership under Speaker Date Phelan. The Republican leadership in the House voted to impeach. Those for impeachment included 60 Republicans and all Democrats. Of the 23 nays, all were Republicans.
The Investigating Committee presented the evidence of their months’ long investigation. In all, the presentation was damning. The presentation included allegations of misconduct that included bribery and abuse of office.
Opponents of the impeachment argued the evidence was hearsay and much of the information was given to the committee by testimony not under oath. There was also an argument that the short timeframe of the impeachment was a rush to judgement. Also, many complained that Paxton himself did not testify in front of the committee.
Proponents of impeachment countered that the House impeachment proceedings were akin to a grand jury where the standards of evidence are less than the standards would be in a jury trial. The impeachment, which heads to the Texas Senate for trial, affords the accused to defend himself, to include offer his testimony, and for evidence to be presented by both sides.
Paxton was removed from office following the vote of the Texas House. Governor Greg Abbott is required to appoint a temporary replacement through the trial.