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All seven of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s whistleblowers have resigned, been fired or put on leave

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a press conference on Jan. 12, 2017. (Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a press conference on Jan. 12, 2017. (Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune)

The last of the seven top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of criminal violations has resigned from the agency, according to a former senior official with the agency who had knowledge about the resignation but did not want to be named for fear of repercussions.

Ryan Bangert, who served in one of the agency’s highest posts as deputy first assistant attorney general, resigned Wednesday, the official said. The attorney general’s office did not respond to a request Wednesday seeking to confirm Bangert’s employment status.

Two of the other whistleblowers were fired last week, two more were put on leave, and two others have already resigned — leaving the sprawling agency without seven of its top officials. A spokesman for Paxton denied that the firings were retaliation, citing unspecified violations of agency policy.

Bangert did not immediately return requests for comment, but told the Dallas Morning News, which first reported the news, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve alongside the men and women of the Office of the Attorney General.”

Bangert and six of his colleagues alerted law enforcement weeks ago that they had a “good faith” belief that their boss had committed bribery and abuse of office by using the agency to serve the interests of a political donor, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul.

Paxton has called the employees “rogue” and their allegations “false.” But documents and media reports have shown several highly unusual instances when Paxton’s office got involved in separate legal matters that involved Paul.

The attorney general’s office did not respond to a request Wednesday seeking to confirm Bangert’s employment status.

Bangert, who was hired in 2019, served in one of the agency’s most senior posts, and leaves as the agency is hemorrhaging top staff. In addition to the seven whistleblowers, the agency recently said goodbye to Katherine Cary, its chief of staff, who resigned.

In the immediate aftermath of the accusations against Paxton, it was Bangert who sent an agency-wide email assuring the roughly 4,000 staff members that, “In light of recent events reported in the media … the executive team remains committed to serving you, this office, and the people of Texas.”

“Together, we owe a duty to this office and the people of the State, who we serve, to ensure the agency continues its important work without interruption,” he wrote on Oct. 4, a Sunday afternoon.