TX AG Paxton Demands Speaker Phelan’s Resignation Amid Intoxication Allegations

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At the end of the 14-hour session, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan appeared intoxicated and was slurring his words. As the video circulated online, speculation arose about whether Phelan was drunk, or if he had a stroke, or any other medical condition. Phelan’s office has yet to comment on the accusations.

Tuesday, the majority of speculation was settled when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, (R), called on Speaker Phelan’s resignation due to this incident. He referred to his state as “apparently debilitating alcoholism.” AG Paxton asked for the resignation after the end of the legislative session. He wrote that the situation had caused Republicans to have a credibility problem.

Paxton wrote:

His failures have caused a credibility crisis among Republican candidates, and our Party as a whole. I hope that Speaker Phelan gets the help he requires. He has shown himself to be unworthy of Texan’s trust and incapable to lead the Texas House.

AG Paxton also wrote to the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, requesting that they investigate Speaker Phelan’s conduct and any applicable House Rules and State Law.

The AG and Speaker are at odds over the recent $3.3 million settlement Paxton reached with whistleblowers accusing him of corruption and abuse of his office. Phelan is against taxpayers paying for the settlement, and it’s expected that the Texas Legislature will block the payment. Previously, Phelan had said the payment would not be in the chamber budget.

In February Phelan said:

Mr. Paxton is going to have to come to the Texas House, he’s going to have to appear before the appropriations committee and make a case to that committee as to why that is a proper use of taxpayer dollars, and then he’s going to have to sell it to 76 members of the Texas House. That is his job, not mine.

Currently, the DOJ is investigating the whistleblowers’ corruption claims.

Paxton is a Republican who won a third four-year term for the Texas GOP in November. However, many of his fellow members of the party consider him a liability due to the numerous legal issues he faces.

A text message campaign was launched over the weekend asking constituents to contact state representatives and demand Phelan’s resignation.

Phelan’s second session as House speaker ends on Monday. Texas legislative session concludes on Monday.