Can we have a do-over on that impeachment thing?

What an interesting question.

Sen. Drew Springer

Republican state Sen. Drew Springer called for Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate to consider reopening impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the state Senate posted Thursday evening on X, Springer said Paxton’s recent decision to stop contesting a whistleblower lawsuit by former agency executives amounted to an admission of guilt to at least one of the articles of impeachment.

“At this stage, and the point of this letter, I am asking the Senate whether there is a legal mechanism to reopen the impeachment proceedings,” Springer wrote. “Failure to at least consider this possibility runs the risk of AG Paxton making a mockery of the Senate.”

Springer voted to acquit Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment after a two-week trial in September. He said that at the time he believed it was the right thing to do.

But that, Springer wrote, was before Paxton announced last week that his office will no longer fight a whistleblower lawsuit by four former agency executives who say they were improperly fired in 2020 after reporting Paxton to law enforcement over bribery and corruption allegations.

Paxton said he had been vindicated by his acquittal in the impeachment trial but would stop fighting the lawsuit – and accept whatever damages were awarded to the former officials – to prevent further taxpayer resources from being spent on the case.

“He can’t accept the whistleblower’s claims against him while touting that he’s innocent against those very claims,” said Springer, who is not seeking reelection in November.


Springer said the Legislature “deserves a complete record” if asked to fund a judgment in the case, which Texas law requires if the state is found liable for more than $250,000 in damages.

“That record must include AG Paxton answering questions under oath so that the Legislature may determine whether to fund any judgment in this case,” he said.

Article 15 of the Texas Constitution, which sets the impeachment duties of the House and Senate, does not include a provision to reopen or reconsider impeachment proceedings.

See here for some background, and here for Sen. Springer’s post on Twitter. Gotta hand it to the guy, he recognized when he was being taken for an absolute fool. One can certainly argue that he should have shown this level of skepticism a few months ago, but I’ll still give him credit for taking this action now, as Paxton has indeed loudly contradicted his own claims of innocence; as the letter says, this is “an admission of guilt” and to “violating at least one – and potentially more – of the articles of impeachment”. Reporting at the time of the impeachment trial suggested that several other Senators at least considered voting guilty on at least one of the counts, but as there were never enough to convict on any count most of the Republicans that had considered voting guilty backed out. One wonders how many of them are thinking along the same lines as Sen. Springer now.

Of course, one key fact about Sen. Springer is that like nearly every Republican that has shown a milligram of courage against a certain other crime-loving overlord of theirs, he is fixing to retire. Paxton naturally homed in on that:

A spokesperson for Patrick, who served as judge in the trial, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Thursday evening, Paxton said in a statement to the Tribune, “Springer has to leave the senate because he was such a bad senator, wasn’t going to get re-elected, and needed a job. Why should anyone listen to his sour grapes.”

One also wonders if Dan Patrick is capable of noticing that Paxton played him for an idiot, too. Be that as it may, the answer to the initial question appears to be that no, there is no take-backsies provision for impeachment in the Constitution, though I suppose another batch of legislators could initiate a new impeachment process. Maybe the specter of that will prevent Greg Abbott from calling any further special sessions. At least we may finally get that sworn Paxton testimony/a> that Sen. Springer wants. This has the potential to be quite the little drama. The Dallas Observer has more.

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One Response to Can we have a do-over on that impeachment thing?

  1. Flypusher says:

    Let’s face it, impeachment has become a vestigial organ on the body politic. The party label is more important than the actual evidence.

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