All impeachment charges against Ken Paxton should be dismissed because of something called the “Prior Election Doctrine” also known as the “Fairness Doctrine” or the “Prior Term Doctrine.” I prefer calling it the Prior Election Doctrine because I believe that this term is more reflective of the intent. Fairness implies that someone using it may have done something wrong. There has been a lot written concerning the Prior Election Doctrine and I wanted to share a previous experience with this little known law prior to the Ken Paxton impeachment.
Some of you may know, many do not, that I married up. My wife, Rachel, serves as the General Counsel of the Republican Party of Texas and is a partner at one of those big law firms you hear so much about. Needless to say, we were watching the General Investigating Committee when it gaveled in on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 8 a.m. The day before, rumors swirled that this committee meeting would center around “Matter A”-the first investigation. At that time, most people thought Matter A was the Jolanda Jones investigation (three staff members resigning) or maybe even the Frederick Frazier investigation (indicted for two counts of impersonating a public servant). The logical guess was Jolanda Jones, our state representative. On March 30, three members of Jolanda Jones’ staff resigned and reported some issues in a wild resignation letter. We have known Jolanda for years and were interested to hear about this investigation. I know Jolanda from her time on Houston City Council. Rachel knows Jolanda from the courthouse (Rachel is a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney and Jolanda is a criminal defense attorney).
Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 8 a.m. was a blast from the past. First, it was shocking to learn that the General Investigating Committee was investigating Ken Paxton. No one in the grassroots community suspected that this committee was investigating Paxton because it did not make sense. But, when we saw the composition of the legal team hired by the General Investigating Committee, it was obvious that the fix was in.
That morning, the General Investigating Committee heard from four lawyers: Terese Buess, Donna Cameron (aka Donna Goode), Mark Donnelly, and Erin Epley. All four of these lawyers have something in common with one member of the General Investigating Committee (Vice Chair Ann Johnson, a very liberal democrat) – they all worked at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Another commonality among this group: they all worked together to oust Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, the first female district attorney in Harris County. After Ann Johnson lost to Sarah Davis in 2012, then Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson (Anderson and his political consultant Allen Blakemore misused a grand jury for an unlawful purpose to defeat Lykos) hired Ann to be the “human trafficking” prosecutor where she worked with Epley. Previously, she worked at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office with Buess, Cameron, and Donnelly.
Needless to say, we were shocked to see such an open and obvious conspiracy against Ken Paxton. For the next four hours, these four former prosecutors repeated multiple levels of hearsay to allege conclusory allegations against Ken Paxton. This hearing was just a repeat of old allegations against Paxton – allegations that have been in legal pleadings for years. Immediately, we thought about the Prior Election Doctrine.
Years ago, I met David Jennings during Rachel’s service to Harris County. David is Big Jolly, and his Blog Big Jolly Politics, was the largest political blog in the state with over a million readers a week. David had written quite a bit about the politics of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the scandals involving Chuck Rosenthal, Kelly Siegler, and later Mike and Devon Anderson. In 2006, David began working with now Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and two other bloggers on the Lone Star Times, arguably the first conservative blog in Texas. David and I became friends years ago and are still so to this day. David is a good writer and one of the most principled people you will ever meet. I later wrote on Big Jolly Politics covering local political stories about the District Attorney’s Office, crime, the crime lab, and local politics. David taught me a lot and I will be forever grateful.
David Jennings is now Mayor of Shoreacres. Prior to his service as Mayor, David was a member of the Shoreacres City Council. David was first elected to the Council on May 9, 2015 and sworn in on May 26, 2015. He was elected to a second term on the Council on May 6, 2017 and sworn in on May 22, 2017. David has become the politician that he wrote about for years. David was (and is) an honest and ethical political leader. I am proud of him. Of course, as with all politics, not everyone around you shares your values. As he began to clean up the local corruption, he began to pick up political detractors.
On October 28, 2016, an individual filed a petition to remove David from office. Under Texas Local Government Code Section 22.077, a municipal officer may be removed for “incompetency, corruption, misconduct, or malfeasance in office.” Removal is the statutory mechanism to remove a county or municipal officer – think statutory impeachment. Impeachment is provided by Article XV of the Texas Constitution.
David asked Rachel to represent him in this cause of action. Actually, I don’t think she was ever paid, maybe the perfunctory one dollar deal. Rachel stands up for her friends.
As a good lawyer Rachel, set out to learn everything there was to know about removing an elected officeholder in the State of Texas. The law included the “Prior Election Doctrine.” It turns out that the accusations against David happened before he was reelected. Rachel successfully used the Prior Election Doctrine in David’s case and won. Now, fast forward to Paxton’s impeachment and let’s look at the timeline.Paxton-Timeline-on-Impeachment-Articles
Ken Paxton is the chief law enforcement officer of Texas who was re-elected for the third time in November 2022. In the March 2022 primary, Paxton defeated former Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and former Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert. Paxton was forced into a runoff election with Bush who Paxton soundly defeated, which angered Karl Rove. All of Paxton’s opponents coordinated with each other to triangulate the AG into a runoff. Over twelve million dollars was spent in the 2022 Republican Primary to try to defeat Paxton. The anti-Paxton (open borders crowd) efforts failed miserably.
The general election saw Paxton up against former ACLU lawyer and Marxist activist Rochelle Garza. Paxton also soundly defeated Garza. I do find it interesting to note the people who did not support Paxton’s bid for re-election against a Marxist activist. Those folks who lit twelve million dollars on fire in the primary would have rather seen an open borders Marxist elected than Attorney General Paxton. Let the open borders comment sink in a bit.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is the last place you want to seek expertise from on public corruption. Rodney Ellis and his lawyer Rusty Hardin are prime examples of this. Harris County taxpayers have already paid Rusty Hardin over $200,000 to defend Ellis against the stolen art collection “allegations.” Now, Hardin is teaming up with Ann Johnson to oust Paxton. Throughout the Paxton impeachment process, it is clear that Ann Johnson is leading the charge with Andrew Murr (alleged Republican from Junction who chairs the General Investigating Committee).
John Smithee (R-Amarillo), a House member since 1985, spoke against and voted no on the Paxton impeachment. His words were important: “You have all these things that amount to accusations . . . not evidence . . . It’s what I call the ‘hang ‘em now and judge ‘em later’ policy . . . It feels like a Saturday mob out for a lynching.”
There is a reason why this process was done in secret and now you know part of the reason. Ann Johnson and the democrats teamed up with the Texas deep state open borders crowd to do what they could not do at the ballot box – defeat Ken Paxton. The Prior Election Doctrine is in place because of these very abuses. Please understand that this impeachment is not about whether you like Ken Paxton or approve of his mistakes – this is about Karl Rove teaming up with the democrats to get his guy into the AG’s Office. How do you know that they don’t have a case? Watch the media. Again, they are using the news media to do what they cannot do in the courtroom – convict Ken Paxton.