Mr. Paxton, a former state representative who cultivated the conservative grass roots of the Republican Party, was first elected attorney general in 2014. He promised to fight the Inexpensive Care Act and defend Texas’ voter identification law.
But he has spent nearly his entire time as attorney general stalked by accusations of misconduct, including a criminal indictment for securities fraud from 2015. The fees stem from accusations that Mr. Paxton didn’t register as an investment adviser representative and misled investors by encouraging them to speculate in an organization but not telling them that the corporate would pay him. The case has yet to go to trial.
Last 12 months, a lot of Mr. Paxton’s top aides, themselves staunch conservatives, turned whistle-blowers and accused him of bribery, abuse of power and other potential criminal acts in reference to an Austin real estate investor. Those accusations, made to the F.B.I., kicked off a federal inquiry that also hangs over Mr. Paxton’s head. He has denied wrongdoing in each cases.
Even so, Mr. Paxton won the Republican primary last month, handily defeating the land commissioner, George P. Bush, a member of the political dynasty. He did so partly by playing the politics of Texas accurately, which has been his great talent.
Mr. Paxton joined Mr. Trump in attempting to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election, going up to now as to sue states where Mr. Trump had lost, accusing them of fraud. Mr. Paxton appeared with Mr. Trump in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, at a rally that drew 1000’s, a few of whom went on to storm the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Paxton last 12 months, helping to propel him past his scandals and thru the Republican primary.
Mr. Paxton has echoed the previous president in one other way: by attacking tech firms. In 2020, Mr. Paxton’s office, joined by nine other states, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit argued that the web giant had abused its control over the opaque system that delivers ads online.
After the Jan. 6 riot, Mr. Paxton sent investigative demands not only to Twitter but additionally to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, asking for details of content moderation practices.