Who picks the next attorney general of Texas if Ken Paxton is impeached and convicted?
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could join only a handful of politicians that have been impeached in state history.
After months investigating Texas’ top lawyer, a panel of lawmakers on Thursday recommended impeaching Paxton, who has long been under criminal indictment and at the center of a whistleblower lawsuit.
The committee heard hours of testimony on Wednesday from committee lawyers who detailed years of corruption allegations related to his felony securities fraud indictment, as well as the whistleblower lawsuit where Paxton was accused of retaliating against employees who reported him to the FBI.
Wednesday’s hearing and the investigation culminated in Thursday’s decision to recommend Paxton’s impeachment. The articles of impeachment can be found here.
So what happens next? Here’s what we know:
What happens if Paxton is impeached?
If Paxton is impeached by the House, he would be suspended from his post as attorney general while the Senate conducts a trial.
If two-thirds of the Senate vote in favor of conviction, Paxton would be permanently removed from office and could potentially face criminal charges.
Along with being impeached, Paxton would also be disqualified from holding any office of “honor, trust or profit under this State,” according to the Texas Constitution.
What happens to the post of attorney general?
If Paxton is impeached and convicted, it falls on Gov. Greg Abbott to decide the future of the attorney general position.
Under Texas law, the governor can can make an appointment to temporarily fill the vacant attorney general position.
How many Texas politicians have been impeached?
Only two other Texas politicians have ever been impeached and removed from office.
James Ferguson is the only Texas governor to be impeached and convicted. Ferguson was indicted on nine charges in Travis County, with a majority related to misapplication of public funds and another for embezzlement. He was impeached and removed from office in 1917, according to The Texas Politics Project.
State District Judge O.P. Carillo is the second and last elected official impeached in Texas. Carillo was impeached and removed from his position in 1976 for using his office to improperly spend county funds, according to Justia US Law.