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Ken Paxton’s deputy demands back pay for months the attorney general was suspended

By Keaton Peters, The Texas Tribune

Ken Paxton’s deputy demands back pay for months the attorney general was suspended” 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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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is threatening legal action against Comptroller Glenn Hegar if Paxton does not receive back pay for the period he was suspended and awaiting his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate.

In a letter obtained by The Texas Tribune, Paxton’s office charges that the comptroller violated state law and the Texas Constitution “by refusing to issue salary payments to a duly elected statewide officeholder.”

“Public servants may continue to receive a salary while on leave for investigatory purposes,” wrote First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster.

Paxton, who was impeached by the House in May and automatically suspended from his duties, was reinstated as attorney general following the conclusion of his trial in the Senate on September 16. Paxton was acquitted on 16 counts that centered around allegations he received bribes from friend and political donor Nate Paul, and he retaliated against whistleblowers within his office. Four other charges were then dismissed by the Senate.

A spokesman for the comptroller did not immediately answer a phone call seeking comment on the letter. But in the letter, Webster indicated that the comptroller’s office has denied a request to pay Paxton.

The letter also indicates that the comptroller has sought to recover money that Hegar’s office believes was “overpaid” to Paxton.

The attorney general denied that request, instead putting the comptroller on notice that he had “created legal liability for the State of Texas” by not offering Paxton the back pay.

“This office is considering all legal avenues to correct this injustice.”

Patrick Svitek contributed reporting.

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