TX Counties Censure Impeachment, Murr, Phelan

Rep. Andrew Murr
Rep. Andrew Murr | Image by The Texas Tribune

The acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton has led to increased political fallout for the leaders behind the impeachment effort in the House.

Specifically, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) have been censured or otherwise condemned by local Republican groups across Texas. Phelan is widely regarded as the main force behind the impeachment effort against the thrice-elected attorney general, and Murr was the lead of the House Board of Managers during the trial.

In July, before the impeachment trial, the Orange County Republican Party voted to censure Phelan for failing to pursue legislative priorities such as school choice and border security in addition to pushing the Paxton impeachment. Orange County is the largest county within Phelan’s district.

Recently, Dallas County GOP unanimously passed a resolution to support Orange County’s censure of Phelan, per Current Revolt. Although Dallas County votes Democrat, it still has one of the largest blocks of Republican voters in statewide races.

A memo urging the passage of the resolution outlined several legislative priorities Phelan allegedly allowed to die last session, including bills for border security and school choice, among others.

“Speaker Phelan colluded with House Democrats to conduct a sham impeachment of AG Ken Paxton which: ignored House impeachment precedent; placed no witnesses under oath; allowed no cross examination of witnesses; presented hearsay allegations with no legal evidence; called for overturning the will of Texas votes; and called for a House impeachment vote within just 48 hours,” the memo explained.

“We want to send a message to RPT Chairman, Matt Rinaldi, and the SREC [State Republican Executive Committee] that we vigorously and fully support their pending resolution to censure Dade Phelan,” the message added.

Harris County GOP also passed a similar resolution in support of Orange County’s censure of Phelan.

Chair Cindy Siegel noted, “The growing number of county parties across Texas voicing their displeasure with Speaker Phelan should not be taken with a grain of salt.”

As reported by The Dallas Express, Texas leaders like GOP Chairman Matte Rinaldi and Rep. Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian) have vocally opposed Phelan’s impeachment gambit and called for his removal from the speakership.

Even former President Donald Trump called on Phelan to step down, saying, “It is time that Speaker Dade Phelan resign after pushing this Disgraceful Sham!”

Similarly, Rep. Murr has been censured by counties within his district, with Medina County voting to do so due to Murr’s voting record, his partnership with Speaker Phelan, and his involvement in the Paxton impeachment.

The county’s GOP echoed the sentiment that the SREC held, suggesting that in the impeachment push, “the House of Representatives failed to satisfy due process, to comply with applicable Texas law, precedent.”

Specifically, they pointed to Murr “admitting to knowingly fail to present any sworn testimony for consideration by house members as required by Texas Government Code.” As reported by The Dallas Express, the House General Investigating Committee led by Murr failed to take any sworn testimony in direct violation of stipulations in Texas law.

However, both Murr and Phelan have vehemently defended their decision to impeach the attorney general.

After the Senate acquitted Paxton, Speaker Phelan said, “It is extremely unfortunate that after hearing and evaluating this evidence, the Texas Senate chose not to remove him from office.”

Phelan also attacked Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for criticizing the House’s process, saying, “To be clear, Patrick attacked the House for standing up against corruption. His tirade disrespects the Constitutional impeachment process afforded to us by the founders of this great state.”

“The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start,” he concluded.

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