The non-profit State Bar Foundation alleges that Paxton misused his office to support lawsuits propagating election conspiracy theories.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that he is being sued by the state bar for professional misconduct related to his lawsuit challenging the validity of the 2020 presidential election.
According to The Texas Tribune, Paxton says that he is the victim of a long-standing “witch hunt,” intended to punish him for expressing support of former President Donald Trump.
“I have recently learned that the Texas State Bar — which has been waging a months-long witch-hunt against me — now plans to sue me and my top deputy for filing Texas v. Penn: the historic challenge to the unconstitutional 2020 presidential election joined by nearly half of all the states and over a hundred members of Congress,” Paxton said in a social media statement. “I stand by this lawsuit completely.”
Shortly after Paxton announced the lawsuit, the attorney general said that he would open his own investigation into the Texas State Bar.
In a press release, Paxton said that the state bar is “facilitating [the] mass influx of illegal aliens” by donating money to organizations that “encourage, participate in, and fund illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border.”
The Texas Tribune notes that Paxton’s conflict is with the Texas State Bar Foundation, a group comprised of attorneys who raise money to provide legal education and services.
The State Bar Foundation, says the Tribune, is separate from the State Bar of Texas, which is an administrative unit of the Texas Supreme Court.
The Foundation’s executive director, Trey Apffel, said that the Bar and Foundation are privately funded and do not receive any taxpayer dollars.
“The foundation is separately funded through charitable donations and governed by its own board of trustees,” Apffel said in a statement. “While we are unsure what donations are at issue here, we are confident that the foundation’s activities are in line with its mission of enhancing the rule of law and the system of justice in Texas.”
Paxton, for his part, says that the organization’s lawsuit is politically motivated and was timed to coincide with early voting in the Republican Party runoff for the position of Texas Attorney General.
“Texas Bar: I’ll see you and the leftists that control you in court,” Paxton wrote. “I’ll never let you bully me, my staff or the Texans I represent into backing down or going soft on defending the Rule of Law – something for which you have little knowledge.”
However, the Texas Tribune notes that—contrary to Paxton’s claims—the investigation into Paxton’s alleged misconduct has been pending for months.