While serving as a state representative, Texas Attorney General Paxton accepted commissions and sought investments without having first registered with the securities board. As the Dallas Morning News points out, this action is classified as a third-degree felony.
Paxton’s circumvention of the law is the subject of an editorial calling for a special prosecutor in the case. Morning News editorial writer Tod Robberson talks about Paxton’s behavior.
What did the Attorney General do to break the law?
“Over a series of years – 2004, 2005, and 2012 to be specific – Paxton engaged in a private business where he was doing investment work for a company based in McKinney,” Robberson says. “He solicited clients for that firm and collected commission fees off of the investments he got clients to engage in. He neglected to get a securities registration from the state securities board –and that is required by law. That is a violation of the law and he was cited for that.”
Why is this a big deal? “It’s a big deal because the state puts these laws into effect to protect people from being victimized by fraud,” Robberson says.
On the administrative side of these violations, Paxton paid an administrative fine of $1,000 and admitted to breaking the law. But on the criminal side of things, Paxton committed a third-degree felony and may be prosecuted. The big question is – who will be the prosecutor?
“There is a big concern when you have the sitting Attorney General of the State under this sort of legal cloud, but there’s another question which is the objectivity of the Collin county prosecutor to pursue this case,” Robberson says.
The Collin County prosector, Greg Wills, is a longtime friend and business partner of Paxton. “This is a clear conflict of interest and there is a rising concern that this case won’t be able to be looked at objectively without bringing in a special prosecutor,” Robberson says.