No good deed goes unpunished. As a result of my stated interest in the ongoing showdown between Governor Greg Abbott and the Legislative Budget Board, I am now in possession of a 62-page-long document related to the situation, which I should probably read before weighing in further.
Since I promised you all a new post today, though, I’ll offer a brief comment on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as a Collin County grand jury is expected to start hearing evidence against him imminently, and may soon charge him with securities fraud. My full comments will be in a forthcoming issue of the magazine, and so my brief comment is just this: if you are surprised that Texas’s new attorney general was under investigation less than three months after he was sworn in as the state’s top law enforcement official, you have only yourself to blame, because Paxton (literally) admitted to a third-degree felony more than a year ago, between the Republican primary and the Republican primary runoff, as it happens.
With that said, if the current proceedings have finally piqued your interest in potentially felonious attorneys-general of Texas, you may be interested in a couple of pieces from our archives. I’d recommend “The Man in the Black Hat,” Paul Burka’s National Magazine Award-winning 1984 two-parter on Clinton Manges, a crony of Jim Mattox (who was elected attorney general in 1982, indicted in 1983, acquitted in 1985, and re-elected, to acclaim, in 1986). Less favored by fate was Mattox’s successor, Dan Morales, who made it through his time in office okay but later saw his political future go up in smoke after pleading guilty, in 2003, to conspiracy and other crimes related to his work related to the state’s tobacco settlement. Lou Dubose laid out the story in this 2002 piece: “So What’s the Truth About Dan Morales?”