Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick requested a full financial audit of the impeachment proceedings of Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday, making good on a vow he delivered after Paxton was acquitted of all impeachment charges in the Texas Senate.
In a letter sent to State Auditor Lisa Collier, Patrick requested that her office immediately begin to determine “the total amount of expenditures, encumbrances and future unpaid obligations” by the Texas House, Senate, Office of Attorney General and other “all other legislative entities.”
“The goal,” Patrick wrote, “is to determine the absolute total cost of the state of preparing for and conducting this trial from the beginning through its conclusion. This must detail all expenses” including those for investigators, travel, food and lodging.
Collier did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The state auditor is an independent governmental agency that investigates allegations of fraud and impropriety.
Patrick’s request follows his blistering speech at the conclusion of Paxton’s trial, in which he said the House and Republican Speaker Dade Phelan “rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide official in Texas in over 100 years while paying no attention to the precedent that the House set in every other impeachment before.”
Phelan responded by accusing Patrick — who presided over the Senate trial — of “confessing his bias and placing his contempt for the people’s House on full display.”
The speaker’s office declined to comment Monday on Patrick’s official audit request.
See here for the background. I’d like the auditor to respond with an estimate of how much it will cost to do this dumb vanity project, but I suspect she would rather keep her job. My advice to you and your colleagues still stands, Dade. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss.