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Ken Paxton is using the powers of the Attorney General’s office to benefit a private citizen “bent on impeding a federal investigation,” five officials say

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Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke to the Gun Owners of America assembly in 2018. Credit: Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Senior officials in the Texas Attorney General’s Office told their boss, Ken Paxton, on Wednesday that he subverted his office to serve the financial interests of a political donor, according to an email obtained by The Texas Tribune.

Their concerns stem from Paxton’s appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate claims made by Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor and donor, of alleged impropriety by federal and state authorities. But several subpoenas served by the prosecutor, the aides said in the email, "related to private business concerns of Nate Paul" — and were not the subject of the “narrow criminal referral” he was appointed to investigate.

The email was addressed to Paxton and his new first assistant Brent Webster and sent by several of the same top aides and whistleblowers — Ryan Bangert, Blake Brickman, Lacey Mase, Darren McCarty and Ryan Vassar— who reported allegations of criminal activity to law enforcement last week.

“It would be a violation of our own public responsibilities and ethical obligations to stand by while the significant power and resources of the Texas Attorney General’s Office are used to serve the interests of a private citizen bent on impeding a federal investigation into his own alleged wrongdoing and advancing his own financial interests,” the aides wrote in the email. “We urge you to end this course of conduct immediately.”

Paxton did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. But he has called the allegations “false” and the employees “rogue.”

This story is developing.