AUSTIN, Texas — Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan’s office responded after Attorney Ken Paxton called for the speaker’s resignation on Tuesday.
Phelan’s office told KHOU 11 News that it was an attempt by the attorney general to save face.
"Committee minutes and official house records indicate the committee has been investigating 'matter A' since March – and the motives for and timing behind Paxton’s statement today couldn’t be more evident,” Cait Whittman, Phelan's Director of Communications, said.
Phelan's office provided a letter to KHOU 11 News showing the notification sent to Paxton's office. The letter said there’s a House investigation into Paxton asking for public money to settle with three whistleblowers and instructed Paxton's office to preserve records.
Phelan’s office said the letter they sent to Paxton came before the attorney general called for the speaker’s resignation.
You can read the full letter in two parts below.
It all comes after Paxton called for House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign at the end of the current Legislative session.
In a tweet from his personal account, Paxton said Phelan was recently "in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication" while presiding over the House Chamber. Paxton's call comes at the same time an unknown political party sent out a video via text calling for Phelan to go.
Paxton's tweet was posted days after videos of Phelan slurring words while presiding over the House were shared across social media.
Here's a video of the incident that Paxton is referring to:
Here's Paxton's complete statement:
"After much consideration, it is with profound disappointment that I call on Speaker Dade Phelan to resign at the end of this legislative session. Texans were dismayed to witness his performance presiding over the Texas House in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication. His conduct has negatively impacted the legislative process and constitutes a failure to live up to his duty to the public. Texans were relying on the House to pass critical conservative priorities including protecting the integrity of our elections and preventing Chinese spies from controlling Texas land. His failures as Speaker have created a credibility crisis for all Republican candidates and for our entire Party. 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."
Phelan's office called Paxton's statement "little more than a last-ditch effort to save face" over an investigation into whistleblower allegations.
Houston state Rep. Jarvis Johnson, a Democrat, said Paxton's comments were a distraction. Here's his full statement:
"We're all working 16+ hour days from sunrise to far past sunset, to passionately deliver for our constituents. We get tired but we come back day after day. This is a distraction started by the same band of unproductive media misfits that have tried to divide and derail this chamber all session. Just like the Speaker, I'm not here for games, I'm here to work."
Paxton's office also sent this letter to Texas House of Representatives General Investigations Committee Chairman Andrew Murr. In the letter, he called for an investigation into Phelan "for violation of House rules, state law, and for conduct unbecoming his position." He said Phelan presided over the House of Representatives in "an obviously intoxicated state.":
FBI investigation into Paxton
Paxton is currently in the middle of an FBI investigation related to criminal conduct and indictments. He also recently agreed to a $3.3 million settlement with whistleblowers in his office that was going to be paid by tax dollars. Phelan opposed taxpayers paying for the settlement.