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Ken who? Sid who?

Whatever you do, don’t mention the indicted Republican officeholders!

The Texas attorney general has been indicted for allegedly duping investors in a tech startup, and the agriculture commissioner reportedly used tax dollars to travel to obtain a so-called Jesus shot supposedly offering long-term relief from pain.

So far, fellow Republicans are all but ignoring the troubles.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been charged with two felonies, and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who last year unapologetically shared a Facebook post that suggested using a nuclear bomb on the Muslim population, coasted to election in 2014 as part of a new slate of GOP leaders. Other Republicans who won that year included Gov. Greg Abbott and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush.

Democrats, who have called on Paxton to resign, lament what they call the pitfall of a politically one-sided state. Republicans seem content to stay quiet.


At least one former GOP state official said the lack of competitive elections in Texas has made current officeholders less responsive to voters and more focused on not alienating their base.

“They’re good guys, but they’ve been kind of leading with their chins,” said Jerry Patterson, who led the Texas General Land Office for more than a decade before being replaced by Bush. “Whether the allegations are right or wrong, it does negatively impact the Republican brand.”

Not exactly sure what Patterson means by that, but it’s kind of weak tea for a normally blunt guy. It’s entirely possible to believe that Paxton and Miller are good guys, as I believe Ron Reynolds is a good guy, and also believe that they did some shady things, for which they at least may need to suffer some consequences. But if the best you can do is fret about damaging the brand, then you surely can appreciate that the brand isn’t going to fix itself. Someone is going to have to be the grownup.

In that spirit, I must note that Greg Abbott has finally said something about all this.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott believes allegations that Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller misused state funds when he took two out-of-state trips a year ago should be investigated, a spokesman for the governor said on Thursday.

“The governor believes these allegations of misuse of taxpayer dollars warrant a thorough investigation by the Texas Rangers,” said the spokesman, John Wittman.

As a partisan Democrat, of course, I’d have preferred to see something stronger. As a political realist, I recognize that this is about as strong as it gets in this kind of situation. The fact that he actually mentioned “allegations” of “misuse” of state funds puts it in another class than the wishy-washy “let the system run its course” pablum he issued when Ken Paxton was first indicted. Someone in the Governor’s office recognizes a rotten egg when they smell it, so kudos to them for that. Anyone else got anything to say, about Miller or Paxton? Again, it’s fine by me if they don’t. Go ahead, whistle past the graveyard all you want. Tomorrow may never come. In the meantime, Texas Monthly has put together a couple of helpful overviews and FAQs about the Paxton and Miller situations. Who knows what the next chapter will be.

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