The FBI is reportedly investigating claims that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton improperly used his office to benefit a wealthy donor.
Federal agents are looking into a whistleblower complaint from members of Paxton’s staff alleging that Paxton abused the power of his office to serve the financial interests of real estate investor Nate Paul, two people with knowledge of the inquiry told the Associated Press.
The investigation represents an escalation in a growing controversy surrounding Paxton. Though he has denied any wrongdoing, a number of politicians, including Texas Rep. Chip Roy, who used to work for Paxton, have called for him to resign.
Three of the whistleblowers who accused Paxton of wrongdoing have been fired, and the others have either been put on leave or resigned, according to the Associated Press. Four of the accusers filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton, alleging wrongful firing and retaliation.
In October, seven officials “reported to an appropriate law enforcement authority a potential violation of law committed by Warren K. Paxton, Jr. in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas,” according to a letter obtained by the Texas Tribune.
Paul is a real estate investor who gave Paxton a $25,000 campaign contribution in 2018. Paul’s home and office were raided in 2019 by the FBI. Following the incident, Paxton opened an investigation into the matter, which prompted the whistleblowers’ complaint. They claimed Paxton was using the “criminal” process to help his donor.
Paxton has since called off the investigation and dismissed allegations of criminal behavior.
“The complaint filed against General Paxton was done to impede on an ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing by public officials including employees of this office,” Paxton’s office told CNN in October. “Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law.”
The whistleblower complaint is being investigated by prosecutors already probing Paxton about potential securities fraud charges. The previous charges accused Paxton of convincing investors to buy tech stocks without disclosing that he would be compensated for the sales.
Paxton said he is prepared to defend himself against all of the allegations, according to the Statesman.
“Unfortunately, I know a little something about being falsely accused and being forced to counter allegations that are the result of overreach by prosecutors and law enforcement,” Paxton said in a statement. “I make no apologies for being a fierce investigator and defender of individual rights in the face of potentially unreasonable and authoritarian actions.”
The Washington Examiner reached out to Paxton’s office and Paul’s company, World Class real estate, for comment.