WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last Wednesday, a group of four past Texas State Bar presidents, state bar members and Texas legal ethics experts filed an ethics complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) asking the Texas State Bar to permanently suspend or disbar him for ethical misconduct. The complaint asserts that “Attorney General Paxton, the highest law officer of the State of Texas, has brought dishonor to his fellow Texas lawyers and to the legal profession” through his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. The state Attorney General is already facing other ethics investigations as well as criminal charges in separate cases.
The 31-page complaint outlines various patterns of ethical misconduct, mainly Paxton’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to overturn the election results of four swing states based on bogus allegations of fraud and unconstitutional actions of state legislatures. While the Supreme Court dismissed the case, finding that Paxton had not justified Texas’ interest in the conduct of other states’ elections, the ethics complaint argues that his lawsuit was frivolous, knowingly false and had no basis in fact. The complaint also highlights the ethical concerns regarding Paxton’s attempts to block certification by urging people to march on the Capitol on January 6. Regarding Paxton’s support of the January 6 insurrection, the complaint argues that “Mr. Paxton’s post-dismissal, unethical conduct was serious in its own right. Demonstrating a pattern of ethical misconduct, it made his prior conduct in the Supreme Court lawsuit even more egregious.”