Ken Paxton

The Paxton Seven. They Whistled. They Departed.

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

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

The last of the seven whistleblowers, Ryan Bangert, said he resigned Wednesday. Two others had already resigned, two more were fired last week, and two were put on leave earlier this month.

October 29, 2020

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from Ryan Bangert confirming his resignation.

The last of the Paxton Seven top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of criminal violations has resigned from the agency.

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

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve alongside the men and women of the Office of the Attorney General,” Bangert said in a statement. The Dallas Morning News first reported the information.

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 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 Texas AG 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 the afternoon of Oct. 4, a Sunday.

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