The powerful attorney general of Texas — who stymied marriage in the Lone Star State and called the Supreme Court's decision for marriage equality "lawless" and "flawed" — surrendered to authorities Monday.
Ken Paxton is facing two counts of fraud and one count of failing to register as an investment adviser, the Los Angeles Times reports. Paxton, a former state representative who has only served seven months as AG, allegedly directed investors to a Dallas-area tech company without telling them he was getting a cut for the referrals. Each fraud count carries sentences of five to 99 years.
When marriage equality became the law of the land in late June, Paxton told county clerks that could defy the Supreme Court and withhold marriage licenses for same-sex couples. In his statement to the clerks, Paxton acknowledged that such refusals could result in lawsuits or fines, but he also wrote that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.”
Texas's first out legislator, Glen Maxey, later filed an ethics complaint against Paxton because of his directive.
“It’s irresponsible for an elected official — and a lawyer — to tell other elected officials to break the law,” Maxey said in a prepared statement. “He’s misleading county and state officials based on a false premise that they can discriminate against same-sex couples.”