AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas House committee on Thursday unanimously recommended the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton after a months-long investigation.
Previously, the state has only impeached two elected officials - former Gov. James E. Ferguson in 1917 and former Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975.
Impeachment of former Gov. James E. Ferguson
According to the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, Ferguson's second term as governor saw controversy with UT Austin over the university's refusal to dismiss faculty members he found "objectionable." In response, the then-governor vetoed essentially the university's entire appropriation. However, a preliminary investigation didn't find any impeachable offenses.
A later investigation led to Ferguson being indicted on nine charges relating to the misuse of public funds, embezzlement and to the diversion of a special fund, according to the Texas Politics Project. After the indictment, the speaker of the House called a special session in which 21 articles of impeachment were prepared.
The Texas Senate then spent three weeks considering the articles before Ferguson gave the Secretary of State a notice of resignation on Sept. 24, 1917, according to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas. On Sept. 25, 1917, the Senate voted to remove Ferguson from office and disqualified him from holding office in the future.
But that wasn't the end of Ferguson's political career. The Texas Politics Project said he unsuccessfully ran for president on his own "American Party" ticket. He also ran his wife's gubernatorial campaign in 1924 and returned made a return to the Governor's Mansion after losing reelection in 1926 amid new scandals.
Impeachment of former Judge O.P. Carrillo
The Texas House brought articles of impeachment against District Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975 for allegedly using his office to improperly use county funds, employees and equipment for his own benefit, filing false financial statements with the Texas secretary of state and defrauding his county, according to a report published by the Corpus Christi Caller on August 31, 1975.
According to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas, the state Senate convened on September 3, 1975, to consider the articles of impeachment against Judge Carrillo. It wasn't until January 23, 1976, that the Senate voted to remove Carrillo from office, also barring him from holding any office in the future.