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Texas AG Ken Paxton accused the state’s House Speaker Dade Phelan of being intoxicated during a late night vote as Texas House panel investigates AG

Texas House Speaker Dade PhelanTexas House Speaker Dade Phelan gavels in the 87th Legislature’s special session at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

  • An intraparty GOP feud is brewing in Texas state politics between AG Ken Paxton and House Speaker Dade Phelan.
  • Paxton accused Phelan of being drunk during a late-night Friday legislative session in a now-viral clip.
  • After Paxton called on him to resign, Phelan said the incident was a distraction from an inquiry into Paxton’s alleged bribery.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused the Texas state House Speaker of being drunk during a vote and called for his resignation, while Speaker Dade Phelan is calling the move political, amid a deepening intraparty feud.

During a late-night vote last Friday, Phelan, a Republican, appeared impaired and slurred his words at the tail end of a 14-hour session, per a video.

Paxton and other intraparty rivals of Phelan boosted a video of the incident over the weekend.

By Tuesday, Paxton publicly called on Phelan to resign.

“After much consideration, it is with profound disappointment that I call on Speaker Dade Phelan to resign at the end of this legislative session,” Paxton said in a statement on Twitter. “His conduct has negatively impacted the legislative process and constitutes a failure to live up to his duty to the public.”

According to the Tribune, an unnamed advocacy group also used the clip of Phelan for damaging campaign material, sending the video to journalists en masse, calling Phelan “Drunk Dade.”


—Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 20, 2023


But Dade’s office maintained that the campaign launched by Paxton and other GOP legislators in Texas was politically motivated.

According to KXAN, some of the ultra-conservative GOP legislators who spoke out against Phelan over the weekend often clash heads with him for appointing Democrats to committees in the legislature.

Political consultant Derek Ryan tweeted that the legislature had sat through a 14-hour session last Friday and blamed Phelan’s speech on “exhaustion.”

In a statement sent to Insider, Phelan’s office noted an upcoming Wednesday state House committee hearing that is centered on Paxton’s dealings, related to four former aides-turned-whistleblowers who filed a lawsuit against the AG. Phelan’s office did not address whether Dade was intoxicated in the video from last Friday.

In 2020, Paxton’s former staff alleged that Paxton had abused his office and committed bribery, and two were fired while the other two were placed on leave after doing so. Paxton has denied the allegations.

In February 2023, Paxton’s office announced a $3.3 million settlement with the four whistleblowers and authorized taxpayer dollars to pay for it, according to the Texas Tribune.

Legislators, including Dade, have been reluctant to authorize taxpayer funds for the settlement, the Texas Tribune reported in March. On Tuesday, his office told Insider that Paxton’s office was subpoenaed in relation to the whistleblower investigation.

“The motives for and timing behind Paxton’s statement today couldn’t be more evident,” Dade’s office said in the statement. “Mr. Paxton’s statement today amounts to little more than a last-ditch effort to save face.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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