On Sept. 7, 2023, over 100 Collin County residents gathered on buses bound for Austin in support of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for the first day of his impeachment trial.
According to WFAA, Pray for Paxton organized one bus, while the Collin County GOP arranged for two buses to make the journey. Together, these two groups will be sending a total of more than 125 people on their way to Austin. Some of them paid $50 for a bus ticket, compared to the average $29 ticket from Dallas to Austin.
Paxton is slated to undergo a Senate trial following his impeachment by the Texas House, a decision that garnered overwhelming support even from representatives in his home county. However, Paxton's advocates in Collin County, where he initially gained prominence in Texas politics, view his impeachment as an unjust political maneuver by a GOP-led House, which they argue fails to accurately represent conservative Republican values. All five Collin County representatives, where Paxton resides, voted in favor of his impeachment.
“This was an incredibly difficult vote as, for most of us, Ken has been a longtime friend,” a joint statement from the five Republicans said.
Paxton first came under investigation in 2020 after his deputies accused him of bribery and abusing his office to help a campaign contributor, Nate Paul, who employed a woman with whom Paxton was having an alleged affair.
Paxton allegedly helped Paul in more ways than one, the most important being Paxton’s hiring of an outside lawyer to investigate Paul’s claims that the FBI federal judges and others were conspiring against him. Paxton’s in-office lawyers did not believe Paul’s claims were legitimate, prompting him to hire an outside lawyer. The lawyer hired did not have any prosecutorial experience but had ties to Paul’s defense attorney.
The group accusing the attorney general includes several of Paxton’s longtime allies and was later joined by the agency’s head of law enforcement. All eight resigned, were put on leave, or were fired, prompting a whistleblower lawsuit.
Paxton is only the third incumbent official in Texas’ nearly two-century history to face impeachment. He strongly criticized the House investigation that preceded his impeachment, labeling it as “corrupt,” and consistently denied any wrongdoing.