Ken Paxton is Under Investigation Again, This Time for Bribery: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Business is booming for the Texas company that invented the ”bump stock,” the Astros come out swinging in their playoff opener, and Texas asks for billions of dollars more to help with Harvey recovery.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Red Cross was not there as they were suppose[d] to be with the shelter and again no communication to what this is actually about and that you have been in DeWitt County doing anything.”
—DeWitt County Emergency Management Coordinator Cyndi Smith in an email on September 9, according to ProPublica, which has a new report detailing the failings of the Red Cross in its response to Hurricane Harvey.
Ken’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is under investigation again. The guy who is fighting fraud charges now concurrently faces an investigation into possible bribery. It’s all sort of related: the investigation under bribery and corrupt-influence laws comes after Paxton accepted a six-figure gift from a CEO whose company was being investigated by the state for fraud, according to the Dallas Morning News. In July 2016, Austin-based medical device company Preferred Imaging LLC agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement after a multiyear Medicaid and Medicare fraud investigation; the year before, the company’s CEO, James Webb, gave $100,000 to help Paxton’s legal defense of the criminal securities fraud charges he’s been battling for nearly two years. Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley told the Morning News on Thursday that she’s been examining the donation, and whether Paxton broke state laws limiting gifts public servants can receive from people subject to their jurisdiction. “There is an active investigation looking into that matter,” Wiley told The News. “We are carefully and thoroughly going through every piece of evidence.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The bump stock, a gun attachment that has been put in the spotlight this week, is produced by a small manufacturing business, Slide Fire, based in Moran—a tiny town between Fort Worth and Abilene. The rifle attachment transforms semiautomatic, one-shot-per-trigger-pull rifles into weapons that can fire off rounds like machine guns, and was used by the gunman in the mass shooting in Las Vegas last weekend. Since then, online commenters have questioned Slide Fire’s role in enabling the shooter to transform his gun into an even deadlier weapon. Members of Congress have recently come out in force for a federal ban on the bump stock—a proposal that even the National Rifle Association recently indicated it would support. According to the Dallas Morning News, Slide Fire and its owner, Jeremiah Cottle, are hanging in there amid the sudden spotlight, thanks in part to support from the local community, where the manufacturing plant is one of the largest employers. Meanwhile, bump stocks are apparently flying off the shelves. A note posted on the company’s website in the days after the shooting indicated that Slide Fire could hardly keep up with the demand. “We have decided to temporarily suspend taking new orders in order to provide the best service with those already placed,” the statement said.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve—all five-feet, six-inches of him—smashed three home runs in an 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, the first playoff game of the American League Division Series. It was a decisive victory for the Astros. Their bats somewhat surprisingly went wild against Boston starting pitcher Chris Sale, who had dominated opposing batters all season—Sale exited the game after giving up seven earned runs in just five innings. As the Houston Chronicle notes, Altuve’s three-homer performance in a playoff game is perhaps the finest moment of his decorated career. He became the ninth player in major league history to hit three home runs in a postseason game, and in each of his four at-bats the home crowd chanted “MVP! MVP!” Indeed, Altuve is arguably the leading candidate for AL MVP this year. His three-homer game put him in elite company. The only other players to manage that feat in the playoffs are Pablo Sandoval, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, and Babe Ruth. The Astros continue their quest for a World Series championship in the second game of the best-of-five series this afternoon.
Governor Greg Abbott and nearly all of the Texas congressional delegation signed a letter sent on Thursday asking senior members of Congress for $18.7 billion in new funding to support the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort, according to the Texas Tribune. President Donald Trump signed a short-term, $15.25 billion aid package in September to go toward the immediate emergency in Texas after Harvey and in Florida after Hurricane Irma, but Texas is still in need. “Texas greatly appreciates the appropriations committees’ efforts to swiftly provide funds,” the letter stated. “However, in light of the unprecedented damage from Hurricane Harvey and the historically epochal flooding of Houston, Beaumont and surrounding regions, we all recognize that the funding already appropriated is a small fraction of the federal resources needed to help rebuild Texas and reinvigorate the American economy.” Out of the 38-member Texas congressional delegation, three Republican members did not sign the letter: U.S. Representatives Joe Barton of Ennis, Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, and Jeb Hensarling of Dallas.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
The Hispanic community in Rockwall is pushing for police reform after an unarmed man was killed by a cop Dallas Morning News
About fifty chihuahuas unclaimed after Harvey are heading to North Texas for adoption Houston Chronicle
Austin City Council voted to rename Columbus Day “Indigenous Peoples Day” Austin American-Statesman
Trump will come to Dallas for a fundraiser in October Texas Tribune
A viral San Antonio rapper was charged with murder San Antonio Express-News