Ladies and gentlemen, your Attorney General:
Campaign contributions to embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton all but dried up last fall after senior staff accused the Republican of abusing his office to help a friend and political donor.
In the days after mounting the unsuccessful legal bid, Paxton raked in nearly $150,000 — roughly half of his entire campaign haul in the last six months of 2020.
Paxton’s own fundraising reports have typically been in seven figures. Campaign spokesman Ian Prior did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The low fundraising numbers show Paxton’s political career “is on life support,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston.
“He went all in to back Trump and the far right and it was a losing play,” Rottinghaus said.
Paxton, in his second term, is up for reelection in 2022. His campaign account has about $5.5 million cash on hand.
After the seven employees’ accusations went public in early October, Paxton raised roughly $10,000, his campaign finance report shows. In November, his campaign brought in $75.
Paxton raised nothing more until Dec. 8, the day after he asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn election results in four states that helped deliver the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden. A few days later, the high court rejected the challenge, which was cast by legal experts as a long shot and an unfounded attempt to nullify millions of lawful ballots.
During that time, Paxton’s campaign brought in hundreds of mostly small donations from across the country. The l argest, a $25,000 contribution, came on Dec. 10 from James Dondero, co-founder of Dallas-based Highland Capital Management, the campaign finance report shows.
Whoever said crime doesn’t pay? He can only sue to overturn the election once, but he can sue over pretty much everything the Biden administration does, if he wants to keep tapping that source of campaign cash. That lawsuit over the deportation pause is the opening salvo. Maybe this strategy to boost his campaign coffers, and score a few policy wins, won’t work, but I feel pretty confident that it won’t stop him from trying.