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Texas House investigative committee sets hearing into allegations of inappropriate conduct by lawmaker

By Zach Despart, The Texas Tribune

Texas House investigative committee sets hearing into allegations of inappropriate conduct by lawmaker” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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​The Texas House Committee on General Investigating unanimously agreed on Monday that a lawmaker may have been involved in inappropriate workplace conduct and set a due process hearing into the matter for Thursday.

The committee did not identify the target of the investigation, which member Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, referred to only as “Matter B.”

The committee is believed to be looking into the behavior of at least two representatives, Democrat Jolanda Jones of Houston and Republican Bryan Slaton of Royse City.

A Capitol staffer alleged in a complaint to the committee that Slaton, 45, had sex with one of his employees, a woman under 21, and also provided her with alcohol. The complaint, which was reviewed by The Texas Tribune, stated that the incident occurred at Slaton’s Austin apartment in March.

Slaton has not commented on those allegations, but a lawyer representing him has blasted “outrageous claims circulating online” about Slaton without specifying further.

Also in March, three members of Jones’ office resigned, citing an “abusive and hostile” work environment. In a letter to Jones obtained by the Tribune, the trio said the lawmaker regularly required them to work outside of normal business hours, threatened to fire them and tasked them with duties unrelated to state business.

Jones said in a statement at the time that working at the Capitol is strenuous and “some on my staff have decided this job is not for them.”

The investigative committee announced the due process hearing after meeting for almost two hours privately, in executive session, Monday morning. Neither Jones nor Slaton was present. It was unclear whether the hearing would be closed to the public or not.

The committee, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats and chaired by Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, investigates alleged wrongdoing in government and potential misconduct by members. It issued four subpoenas in April but did not identify what they were for.

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