Ken Paxton

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Ken Paxton
51st Attorney General of Texas
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Governor Rick Perry
Greg Abbott
Preceded by Greg Abbott
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 8th district
In office
January 2013 – January 4, 2015
Preceded by Florence Shapiro
Succeeded by Van Taylor
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 70th district
In office
January 2003 – January 2013
Preceded by David Counts
Succeeded by Scott Sanford
Personal details
Born (1962-12-23) December 23, 1962 (age 59)
Minot, North Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Angela Paxton
Alma mater Baylor University (B.A.)
University of Virginia (J.D.)
Religion Nondenominational Christianity

Warren Kenneth "Ken" Paxton, Jr.[1] (born December 23, 1962) became the Texas Attorney General in January 2015. Paxton won election to the state's top law enforcement job in November 2014 as a champion of the Tea Party movement.[2]

Paxton beat fellow lawmaker Dan Branch in the Republican primary.[2]

For two years beginning in January 2013, Paxton was a Republican member of the Texas Senate representing District 8, which includes the central-western portion of Collin County and parts of surrounding cities such as Allen, Frisco, and McKinney.[3] From 2003 to 2013, Paxton represented District 70 in the Texas House of Representatives.

On July 28, 2015, Paxton was indicted by a Texas grand jury on felony charges of securities fraud and failing to properly register with the Texas state securities board.[4]

Early career

Paxton attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1981 studying Psychology and was a member of the Baylor University Chamber of Commerce. In 1985 he was elected Student Body President of Baylor University's Student Government Association.[5] He graduated the same year and continued his education at Baylor, attending the Hankamer School of Business earning his MBA in 1986. Paxton then worked for two years as a management consultant before returning to school in 1988. He enrolled at University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1991.

Paxton then joined the firm of Strasburger & Price, L.L.P from 1991 to 1995. He then went to work for J.C. Penney Company, Inc., as in-house legal counsel. In 2002 he left J.C. Penney to start his own firm specializing in estate planning, probate, real estate and general business matters and to run for office in Texas House District 70.

A resident of McKinney, Paxton serves or has served on numerous local organizations and councils. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Allen, Frisco, and McKinney. He is a director of the Centennial Medical Center. He is a member and former director of the Collin County Bar Association, a member of the Dallas Estate Planning Council, director at Marketplace Ministries, and a member of Rotary International in McKinney. Paxton is a charter member of the nondenominational Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, founded in 1998 by senior pastor Chuck Swindoll.[6]

Texas House of Representatives



On March 12, 2002, Ken Paxton ran for his first nomination in the Republican primary for the Texas House in District 70 against five opponents. He captured 39.45% of the vote and moved into a runoff with Bill Vitz, whom he then defeated with 64% of the vote. He then went on to face Fred Lusk (D) and Robert Worthington (L) for the newly redistricted open seat. On November 4, 2002, Paxton secured his first win with 28,012 votes to Lusk's 7,074 votes and Worthington's 600 votes.[7]


November 4, 2004, Paxton faced a challenge from the Democrat Martin Woodward after running unopposed for the Republican nomination. Paxton captured 76% of the vote, or 58,520 votes compared to 18,451 votes for Woodward.[8]


On November 4, 2006, Paxton won his 3rd term to the Texas House of Representatives, defeating Rick Koster (D) and Robert Virasin (L). Paxton received 30,062 votes to Koster's 12,265 votes and Virasin's 1,222 votes.[9]


On November 4, 2008, Paxton won House reelection by again defeating Robert Virasin (L), 73,450 to 11,751 votes.[10]

2010, the challenge to Speaker Straus

Paxton ran unopposed for re-election in both the Republican primary and the general election in 2010. On November 11, 2010, entering his last term as a state representative, Paxton announced that he would run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives against Joe Straus of District 121 in Bexar County and fellow Republican Warren Chisum of District 88 in Pampa, Texas. Paxton expressed his feelings that,

On Election Day [2010], we witnessed a monumental shift in the political climate, and I believe that historic opportunities demand bold action in defense of our conservative values. Voters across Texas sent a clear message that they favor leadership dedicated to protecting our freedoms and fighting government growth. Texans have provided us with an historic mandate, and they expect us to use this mandate to honestly advance conservative principles and not simply protect the status quo. These goals can only be accomplished with a conservative Speaker.[11]

Straus was nevertheless elected to his second term as Speaker, and was reelected again in 2013 and 2015.


Political action committees

After joining the House in 2003, Paxton was endorsed and supported by multiple non-partisan and conservative organizations. Paxton was one of six Texas House candidates endorsed by HuckPAC the official Political Action Committee of former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee.[12]

Paxton received endorsements and "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association[13] and the state affiliated chapter, Texas State Rifle Association.[14]

Committee assignments

  • Land & Resource Management Committee, Texas House
  • Ways & Means Committee, Texas House
  • Fiscal Stability, Texas House[3]

Texas State Senate

Paxton was elected to the Texas State Senate in 2012, and served for two years, until January 2015, when his term as Attorney General began.

Attorney General of Texas

2014 election

Paxton was a candidate for Texas attorney general. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott decided to retire from the office to successfully run for Governor, succeeding Rick Perry and creating an opening in the office of Attorney General.[15]

Paxton led a three-candidate field in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014 and polled 566,114 votes (44.4 percent). State Representative Dan Branch of Dallas County received 426,595 votes (33.5 percent). Eliminated in the primary was Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman of Austin, who polled the remaining 281,064 (22.1 percent).

Paxton faced Dan Branch in the runoff election on May 27, 2014 and won with 465,395 votes (63.63 percent). Branch received 265,963 votes (36.36 percent).[16][17]

In the November 4 general election, Paxton defeated a Democratic attorney from Houston named Sam Houston. At a meeting of the sheriff's association in July, Paxton said that if elected he is committed to defending state laws and envisions Texas "remaining a beacon of freedom and liberty to the nation."[18]


Paxton took office on January 5, 2015.[19]

On June 28, 2015, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Paxton issued a statement offering moral support for clerks with religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His statement said in part that "numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights."[20]

Criminal indictment for felony securities fraud

During this period in time he was also investigated for felony securities fraud for a case that went before a grand jury in July 2015. The grand jury returned an indictment and the criminal prosecution is now pending, the first such criminal prosecution of a Texas Attorney General in 32 years since Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox was indicted for bribery in 1983.[4]

On August 3, 2015, he was arrested and booked after a state grand jury indicted him on two first-degree securities fraud charges, along with another third-degree felony charge, which carry a total sentence of 5 to 99 years if he is convicted.[21] He was released on $35,000 bail.[22]

SEC fraud civil action against Paxton

On April 11, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil enforcement action against Paxton in federal court. The SEC complaint accuses Paxton of violating federal securities laws in 2011 by pressuring five individuals to raise a total of $840,000 to invest in Servergy Inc., a Texas technology company, without revealing that he was paid a commission to promote the company (specifically, $100,000 worth of Servergy stock).[23][24][25] The SEC's complaint specifically charged Paxton with violating various provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and various provisions (including Rule 10b-5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.[26] Paxton denied the allegations.[25]


  2. 2.0 2.1 Weber, Paul J. (2015-08-04). "Indicted Texas attorney general rode tea party to power". Retrieved 2015-11-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Texas House of Representatives : Representative Paxton, Ken". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Grand Jury Indicts Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, on Felony Charges". The New York Times. August 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ken Paxton". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Project Vote Smart – Representative Ken Paxton, Jr. – Biography". 1962-12-23. Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Texas House official election results for 2002 and Republican Primary Election 2002". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Texas House official election results for 2004". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Texas House official election results for 2006". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Texas House official election results for 2008". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Rep. Ken Paxton announces bid for Texas House Speaker". The Ellis County Press. Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Huck Pac – Candidates". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "National Rifle Association – Political Victory Fund, Texas". Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "TSRA PAC – Voters Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Retrieved March 6, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Texas – Summary Vote Results". Associated Press. May 28, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Grissom, Brandi. Tea Party Conservatives Win Top GOP Runoff Contests, Texas Tribune, May 28, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  18. Philip Balli, "Two vie for state AG post", Laredo Morning Times, October 16, 2014, p. 3A
  19. Blanchard, Bobby (January 5, 2015). "Top Texas Officials on Hand as Paxton is Sworn In". Texas Tribune. Austin, Texas. Retrieved January 6, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Garrett, Robert T. (June 28, 2015). "Texas AG Ken Paxton lends moral support to clerks who refuse gay marriages". The Dallas Morning News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Weber, Paul J. (August 3, 2015). "Ken Paxton Indicted". Associated Press. Retrieved August 4, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Paxton will plead not guilty, ask for jury trial | | Dallas Morning News". 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2015-11-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Lauren McGaughy, Feds charge Texas AG Ken Paxton with fraud, Dallas Morning News (April 11, 2016).
  24. Chuck Lindell, SEC accuses Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of fraud, Austin American-Statesman (April 11, 2016).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Martha Neil, SEC sues Texas AG Ken Paxton for securities fraud; his lawyer 'vehemently denies' claims, ABA Journal (April 11, 2016).
  26. SEC: Company Misled Investors About Energy-Efficient Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission (press release) (April 12, 2016).

External links

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Counts
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 70th district

Succeeded by
Scott Sanford
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Florence Shapiro
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 8th district

Succeeded by
Van Taylor
Legal offices
Preceded by
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas