Texas attorney general calls on state's House speaker to resign over alleged intoxication on the job

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 1:23AM
Video based on Texas AG's claim shows slurring House speaker
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The Texas attorney general is levying a claim at fellow Republican, state House Speaker Dade Phelan, of being intoxicated while on the job. This video from the Texas House of Representatives clip library appears to show the speaker slurring.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton called Tuesday for the resignation of the state's GOP House speaker, accusing him of being intoxicated on the job in a statement that shook the state Capitol.

In a tweet, Paxton accused Republican Dade Phelan of presiding over the Texas House "in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication." He cited no specific evidence, but the tweet came days after conservative critics of Phelan circulated video on social media that appeared to show the speaker slurring his words while presiding over the Texas House on Friday night.

Phelan's office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The speaker returned to presiding over the House shortly after Paxton released the statement as lawmakers continued working through bills.

Paxton also asked the House General Investigating Committee, which includes allies of Phelan, to look into the matter. On Tuesday afternoon, the committee was holding a closed hearing in the Capitol although it was not clear why. The House parliamentarian was seen leaving the room after spending about 30 minutes inside.

Paxton is under FBI investigation over accusations by several former aides who accused him of corruption and improperly using his office to help a donor. Paxton has denied the allegations and in February agreed to settle a lawsuit with his accusers for $3.3 million.

That money, however, is contingent on House lawmakers approving using taxpayer money for the settlement. Phelan has previously expressed unease with taxpayers footing the bill.