AUSTIN — As the trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton continues its second week, more details about the role George P. Bush allegedly played in the impeachment effort have come to light.
Paxton’s defense team has advanced the theory that a Bush political network has worked for years to oust the attorney general, as reported by The Dallas Express.
During cross-examination, it was noted that disgruntled employees of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) went to the FBI on September 30 regarding potential unlawful conduct by Paxton. The very next day, Bush reactivated his law license after a 10-year hiatus.
Furthermore, many of the whistleblowers had retained Bush-affiliated lawyer Johnny Sutton to represent them in the matter. However, during the trial, it was revealed that Sutton had not charged them over the course of three years and that fees had hardly been discussed.
Ryan Vassar explained, “He has agreed to bill us at a future date.”
Sutton was the criminal justice policy director for George P. Bush’s uncle, George W. Bush while the latter served as the governor of Texas. Sutton also led the Department of Justice transition team for George W. Bush after he was elected president.
Bush then named Sutton associate deputy attorney general before appointing him as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, a position he held from November 2001 to April 2009.
Sutton also notoriously prosecuted several border patrol agents while acting as a U.S. attorney, apparently giving drug traffickers legal immunity in order to secure the agents’ convictions. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) claimed Sutton had a “prosecutorial over-reaction” following a congressional hearing on the subject in 2007.
“You weren’t going after cartels in this case,” the senator said. “You were going after Border Patrol agents.”
Throughout the case, Sutton was “vigorously supported” by President George W. Bush, while congressmen called the prosecutions “the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen,” per the Washington Times. Bush eventually commuted the agents’ sentences in 2009, but President Donald Trump actually pardoned them in 2020.
Additionally, more details regarding Bush’s alleged connection to the events related to Paxton’s impeachment have been revealed since the start of the trial by an investigative reporter who goes by the name Blue Canaries.
Prior to his attempt to unseat Paxton as attorney general, George P. Bush was Texas land commissioner after being elected in 2014. Before this, he founded the real estate equity firm Pennybacker Capital and St. Augustine Partners, an oil and gas consulting firm, in 2007.
By 2020, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings against Paxton, had several of his properties raided by law enforcement, his assets frozen, and eventually, his properties foreclosed on.
Despite several attempts to forestall the foreclosure auctions, his properties went to the auction block in 2021. All of the properties were won by “entities connected to two powerful real estate firms: Karlin Real Estate LLC and Pennybacker Capital,” per the Austin Business Journal.
Additionally, potential bidders “complained they weren’t allowed to bid on the World Class properties because trustees would only [accept] cashier’s checks … which multiple attendees said was atypical at foreclosure sales.”
As previously noted, Pennybacker Capital, which acquired the building that housed Paxton associate Nate Paul’s headquarters, was founded by Bush. The firm had also filed a nearly $16 million claim on Paul’s company during the bankruptcy proceedings for another property, but it was dismissed in court.
A few years before Pennybacker bought Paul’s properties, Bush in his capacity as land commissioner in 2017 reportedly used the General Land Office (GLO) to invest around $75 million from the Texas Permanent School Fund into his real estate company. The GLO controls the Real Estate Special Fund Account “to invest in real property on behalf of the Permanent School Fund.”
Bush also used the GLO to retain Johnny Sutton’s law firm, Ashcroft, for legal services worth nearly $180,000 in 2022 alone.
During this time, Sutton was representing the whistleblowers, who reported Paxton to the FBI based on their “good faith belief” that criminal misconduct had occurred, as reported by The Dallas Express.