The embattled Republican Attorney General of Texas, Kenneth Paxton has just been charged with civil securities fraud by the federal government. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against Paxton for his role in recruiting investors for the tech start up Servergy Inc without informing them that he was to be handsomely rewarded for his efforts. Paxton raised some $840,000 in investments and deceived investors about his own role in the startup, which led a Texas jury to indict him on fraud only a few months after the Tea Partier took office.
ABC News reports that the new charges were inspired by one investor who “considered Paxton ‘a personal friend’ and believed that Paxton was also investing in the company. According to the lawsuit, that investor ‘grew worried’ when promised about product shipment failed to materialize and that Paxton ‘did nothing’ to determine whether those representations were true, because ‘[the investor] would not have invested in Servergy had he known Paxton was being paid to promote the company.'”
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the courts are seeking jail time for the duplicitous schemer but only are looking for restitution for “any ill-gotten gains or unjust enrichment” as well as financial penalties for his misconduct. It’s not even the second time he’s been in hot water for financial misconduct – he admitted to local securities authorities during his 2014 primary that he didn’t accurately disclose how he received commissions for referring clients to a friendly law firm.
It’s clear at this point that Paxton’s anti-regulation “small government” Tea Party ideals are just a convenient mask for his selfish exploitation of a rigged financial system. The idea that this man was elected to be the steward of state law even while having admitted to constantly breaking them himself is absurd, but unfortunately does not come as a great surprise. Hypocrisy and corruption run deep within the Republican Party, and it is only by replacing them with Democrats with real moral fortitude can we begin to restore integrity to our democracy, the rule of law, and the institutions of governance in the United States.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.