Monday, August 3, 2015

Holier-than-thou Texas AG indicted for fraud

Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General and Tea Party star Ken Paxton has been indicted with two first-degree felony counts of securities fraud and a third-degree felony count of failing to register with the state securities board. These are serious charges. Under Texas law, a first-degree felony carries a sentence of 5 to 99 years or life in state prison; a third-degree felony is punishable by two to 10 years in state prison.

On Sunday, June 28, 2015 in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Paxton issued an official  memorandum intended to frustrate marriage equality. According to Paxton, county clerks and justices of the peace were not obligated to issue licenses or perform same-sex marriages if they had personal religious objections. At the same time the memo noted that clerks who did not issue licenses could be subject to lawsuits. Attorneys with the ACLU advised that anyone following Paxton's advice would be breaking the law.

Prior to that, in March of this year, Texas sued the United States challenging Department of Labor rules that required the state to recognize same-sex couples who were married in another state. Paxton claimed that extending Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to same-sex couples would violate the Texas Constitution.

Getting back to the current issue, the GOP has been working the smoke machine claiming that the indictments were politically motivated. The truth is that this is the work of a grand jury in Paxton's home town. The investigation was performed by the Texas Rangers, an organization with an impeccable apolitical reputation. 

In brief, among other things, Paxton is accused of urging investors in 2011 to invest $600,000 into technology firm Servergy without telling them he would earn a commission on it, and misrepresenting that he was investing in the company.  At the time Paxton was a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Paxton owns at least 10,000 shares in Servergy which is based in his hometown of McKinney. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating Servergy in 2013 after receiving complaints and it is now under investigation for defrauding investors. The status of the SEC investigation is unknown at this time.

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