TX Lawmaker Unanimously Expelled

Bryan Slaton's name is removed from the Texas House voting board shortly after the Royse City Republican was expelled in a unanimous vote Tuesday. | Image by Evan L'Roy, The Texas Tribune

For the first time in nearly a century, a member of the Texas House has been expelled from the body, marking the conclusion of a swift investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by former Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royce City).

The vote for expulsion was unanimously decided, with every single member present concluding that Slaton was no longer fit to serve in the House. The last time a member was expelled from the House was in 1927 when two representatives were removed over bribery allegations.

The expulsion came shortly after the House General Investigating Committee determined that Slaton had provided alcohol to several underage staffers, had sex with a 19-year-old intern from his office, and then worked to silence those who were aware of the incident.

Such actions, the committee concluded, constituted sexual harassment and numerous violations of both House policy and Texas law.

The investigation was initiated after the 19-year-old staffer and two other women familiar with the alleged incident filed formal complaints.

“Slaton’s misconduct is grave and serious,” the committee report described. “He took advantage of his position to engage in sexual conduct after completing training in which he had been advised that conduct of this type was harassment because of the imbalance of power.”

The committee unanimously recommended that Slaton be expelled.

As reported by The Dallas Express, Slaton had tendered a resignation letter on Monday, saying, “It has been an honor to represent my friends, neighbors and the great people and communities of House District 2.”

Nevertheless, the House still voted to expel Slaton, possibly to deny him the opportunity to continue to collect certain benefits.

In a memo obtained by The Texan, the House General Investigating Committee explained that Slaton’s resignation letter did not “negate the need to consider expulsion from the House.”

“Expulsion is still appropriate,” the memorandum read, because “[a] resigned member remains a ‘holdover’ in office, meaning that the member still receives benefits of office, until a successor is qualified.”

“Accordingly, expulsion is the only method to immediately end a member’s service in the Legislature,” the letter concluded.

Before the vote, the House readied a ladder beneath the voting board that displayed the members’ names in preparation for his expulsion. Following the unanimous vote to expel the now-former member, House staff used the ladder to remove Slaton’s plaque from the board.

Slaton’s biography and information page were almost immediately removed from the House of Representatives website as well.

Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) explained his vote to expel his fellow party member.

“Today, I take no joy in casting my vote to expel Representative Bryan Slaton,” he said. “Doing the right thing is sometimes difficult. But right is right.”

After noting that he had been the first to call for Slaton’s resignation, Cain continued, “[T]he information I sought out and learned about him led me to make the informed decision that Mr. Slaton is a sexual predator who took overt actions to coverup his unethical, unlawful, unconstitutional and criminal actions.”

“To make things worse,” Cain concluded, “Mr. Slaton has still not expressed remorse for his actions.”

Similarly, in a statement provided to The Dallas Express, Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) said, “After careful investigation and review of the internal report, Representative Slaton’s conduct with a young girl is absolutely disgusting and criminal.”

“I have found Representative Slaton to be one of the most unethical and ineffective members of the Texas House,” Shaheen added. “The people of Texas will be much better with Representative Slaton no longer a part of the Texas Legislature.”

Slaton has yet to comment on his expulsion.

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