It’s become increasingly unclear whether the Republican presidential primary has enough space for not one, but two female folk heroes of the Tea Party: Rep. Michele Bachmann’s prospective 2012 campaign appears increasingly set on a collision course with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The coming confrontation is being driven by a belief in Bachmann’s camp that the same grassroots, conservative primary voters and caucus-goers may have to choose between the two women—and that they will choose Bachmann if she presents herself as a more seasoned, reliable, and serious conservative than her high-profile rival. The apparent effort to draw distinctions broke into the open Tuesday when her new top strategist, Ed Rollins, dismissed Palin as “not serious” in a radio interview. Palin hasn’t announced that she’s running–and she may ultimately stick to an unpredictable mix of motorcycle tours across the country and Fox News appearances–but she’s such a big celebrity that she could still overshadow Bachmann, the former anti-abortion activist who rose to national fame in 2008 when she claimed that Democratic members of Congress were “un-American.” [POLITICO]
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Reprinted with permission from American Independent
Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas, is under indictment for insider trading and is being investigated for political corruption. Still, he said Tuesday, he is fully planning to run for reelection next year.
After Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced he is "seriously considering" a 2022 primary challenge to Paxton, the embattled incumbent confirmed on Tuesday that he is running for another term.
Paxton mocked Bush, the grandson of George H.W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on a Dallas radio show for running because he "hates being land commissioner" and sees the attorney general job as a stepping stone to running for president.
Paxton questioned whether Bush is qualified for the position of attorney general, saying, "He hasn't even proved himself in [his current job], let alone a job like this, which takes a lot of legal ability, which he" doesn't have.
But Paxton's own ability to follow the law has been very much in dispute since he was elected attorney general in 2014.
In July 2015, a Texas grand jury indicted him on two criminal charges of securities fraud and one of failing to register with the state as an investment adviser. He allegedly had offered to sell stock in a tech company without disclosing that he was being paid by that business.
"I am innocent of these charges," he claimed at the time. "It is a travesty that some would attempt to hijack our system of justice to achieve political ends they could not accomplish at the ballot box." The case has still not come to trial.
Last September, a group of senior Paxton staffers asked the federal government to investigate him for "improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses." The whistleblowers pointed to allegations that Paxton had used his position to do special favors for Nate Paul, a real estate developer and a top donor to Paxton. The FBI is reportedly investigating Paxton's actions.
Days after the staffers came forward, Paxton released a statement decrying "false allegations" by "rogue employees."
By November, six of the whistleblowers had alleged retaliation by Paxton, and four of them had been fired from their positions.
On January 6, Paxton appeared at a rally near the White House and egged on Donald Trump supporters, telling them, "We're here. We will not quit fighting." After the crowd marched to the Capitol and rioted, Paxton falsely claimed the attackers were "not Trump supporters."
When news organizations requested copies of work-related messages and emails sent by Paxton while he was in Washington for the rally, Paxton refused to release them.
Last month, two former Paxton business partners successfully named him as a "responsible third party" in another unrelated securities fraud case. They say that in his role as a lawyer for a Texas company, Paxton "committed legal malpractice." He has not been charged with any crime in that matter.
A Paxton spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Contrary to his assertions of great legal skill, Paxton has lost a lot of his cases as attorney general.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in response, "From the brief, it looks like a fella begging for a pardon filed a PR stunt rather than a lawsuit — as all of its assertions have already been rejected by federal courts and Texas' own solicitor general isn't signing on."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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