Home » TX AG Calls For Resignation Of ‘Obviously Intoxicated’ Speaker

TX AG Calls For Resignation Of ‘Obviously Intoxicated’ Speaker

The clip of Republican Phelan speaking unintelligibly while supposedly presiding over the Texas state House has gone viral. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has called on Phelan to resign. “His conduct has negatively impacted the legislative process and constitutes a failure to live up to his duty to the public,” Paxton said in a statement. “While I hope Speaker Phelan will get the help he needs, he has proven himself unworthy of Texans’ trust and incapable of leading the Texas House.”

Paxton also asked the House of Representatives’ General Investigations Committee to investigate Phelan “for violation of House rules, state law, and for conduct unbecoming his position.”

But the situation is not as simple as it may seem. The Dallas Morning News reports, “Tension has been building for months between Paxton and Phelan.” KUT, Austin’s NPR station, notes, “The clipped video shows Phelan speaking after more than 11 hours of floor debate. Before and after that moment, Phelan’s speech doesn’t appear to be slurred.”

And is Paxton really in any position to be casting aspersions on someone else’s fitness for office?

The Texas Tribune has more:

The 44-second video clip of Phelan began circulating on social media over the weekend. It was pushed by Phelan’s intraparty critics, including former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford. It was also the subject of anonymous text messages deriding Phelan as “Drunk Dade.”

Phelan’s defenders noted he seemed to speak normally before and after the clip. They also noted that the people pushing the video, like Stickland, may be out for revenge after the House voted to expel one of their political allies, ex-state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City.

The House ousted Slaton after an investigation by the General Investigating Committee found he engaged in sexual misconduct with a 19-year-old aide.

Paxton has battled his own ethical troubles for years. Months after taking office in 2015, he was indicted for securities fraud linked to private business deals in 2011. More recently, he came under FBI investigation after top deputies accused him of abusing his office to help a wealthy donor. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

In February, Paxton reached a $3.3 million settlement with four former deputies who had filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his agency, but lawmakers in both chambers have balked at authorizing taxpayer dollars to pay for it. Phelan himself has said he personally opposes it.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.