AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - In a resounding bi-partisan vote, the Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach the state's staunchly conservative attorney general, Ken Paxton.
Lawmakers voted 121-23 to remove Paxton from office. Two members voted presentRepublicans hold a majority in the 149-member Texas House of Representatives.
Notably, the Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, a Republican from Beaumont, voted in favor of the measure. Earlier the in the week Paxton called for Phelan's resignation, accusing him of being intoxicated while presiding over the chamber.
"We will not tolerate corruption, bribery, abuse of office, retaliation and all the related charges that have been presented to you," said Representative Andrew Murr, a Republican from Junction, Texas.
Murr, as chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating, spearheaded an inquiry into alleged crimes committed by Paxton. He told his fellow House members that they are acting as a grand jury, considering if the evidence he helped bring before them was worthy of indictment.
"You are simply deciding that there are sufficient facts to go to trial. Members I respectfully ask that you approve these articles. Send this to trial," said Murr moments before the historic vote.
In apost to Twitter, Paxton thanked supporters of his for speaking against the impeachment resolution and called it outrageous.
"Texas voters now know that Speaker Phelan and the corrupt politicians he controls are more focused on political retribution against conservatives than the welfare of the people," said Paxton.
Contrary to impeachment in the United States Congress, a public official impeached by the Texas House is immediately removed from office pending a trial in the Texas Senate. While a simple majority was required to impeach, two-thirds of Senators are needed to permanently remove Paxton from office.
Complicating the Senate's role in this process is Ken Paxton's wife, Angela, who serves as a member of the upper chamber. She has not made a statement on the impeachment of her husband.
This story is developing.
Source: Courthouse News Service