Texas AG Ken Paxton refuses to reveal his campaign donors… again
This marks the third time this year the incumbent Republican candidate has failed to do so.
For the third time this year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has failed to comply with a federal law that requires him to reveal disclosure forms from his campaign fundraising efforts with lists of donors. The Paxton camp has also refused to enforce campaign finance laws.
This follows a long adversarial relationship with the Texas Ethics Commission, the regulatory agency that is in charge of fining individuals and their campaigns for violations in regards to late or incomplete reports.
New reports covering the timeframe between Sept. 30 to Oct. 29 reveal that the two-term Republican over the course of this election cycle has raised $2.4 million, spent $5 million, and currently has almost $3 million on hand. That’s in comparison to his Democratic opponent Rochelle Garza, who has raised $1.1 million, spent $2.3 million and only has $285,000 on hand.
Many of Garza's donors are from Texas, D.C., and California, with the average contribution being over $451, with only a third of her donations being $10,000 and over.
A spokesperson for the state Ethics Commission recently told Hearst Newspapers that on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Attorney General filed a corrected report a day late because of a redaction delay and it did not become publicly available until Wednesday, Nov. 2.
"As a sitting elected official, Paxton knows better than most what the rules are for filing a routine TEC report — he's choosing not to follow them,” Garza campaign spokeswoman Marcy Miranda said. "The public deserves to know the deep pockets that are supporting criminally indicted Paxton's campaign.”
As of Tuesday, Nov. 2, Paxton nor his office have responded. It has been three years since Paxton’s office sued candidates that failed to pay their fines even while it is at least in part, an aspect of his job, as of this past July. Additionally, Paxton has declined to represent the ethics commission in the court of law as some of his allies in the political sector look to take it apart with a lawsuit.
A spokesman for Paxton in the past suggested that the agency's work is government overreach.
"All of our decisions are guided by the same principle, we take the duty to defend the state seriously and routinely defend agency enforcement actions whenever consistent with our duty to uphold the Constitution," the spokesman said. "However, where we determine those two duties are in conflict, our first obligation is to defend the Constitution and the basic rights it guarantees to each and every Texan."
Three times the charm? Not…
The first instance of a late campaign finance report from Paxton and his office was at the beginning of 2022 in the lead up to the March primary. He took 13 days to file a corrected report after an initial filing did not include the names of almost 4,000 donors. As a result, he had to pay a $500 fine to the ethics commission.
The second time was this past July, when he again failed to file a list of donors in time as required by law. In a corrected version, the AG said the original report was filed "nine seconds before midnight," but it did not actually show up online until two days after the deadline because of processing times.
He also added that the corrected report that actually had the names of donors had been filed at 3:15 a.m., over 24 hours after when he was supposed to, which now leads to this most recent failure of compliance under a week to go until Election Day, Nov. 8.
With a number of legal issues that include an over seven-year-old criminal indictment on felony securities fraud charges, and some of his top aides accusing him of corruption back in 2020, Paxton is one of the more vulnerable Republicans during the midterm elections, especially in Texas. Garza is also chasing history.