Paxton Impeachment Call to Action

Paxton Impeachment Call to Action

This is a call-to-action regarding the Texas Senate Jury trial of Ken Paxton, impeached by the Texas House on May 27, 2023.
 
Background

The Texas Senate will hold the impeachment trial against Attorney General Ken Paxton no later than Aug. 28 and will require a two-thirds majority vote for conviction in order to remove Paxton from office.
 
The Texas House approved the following 12 House Reps. who will serve as prosecutors during the trial:
 
Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, chair
Rep. Ann Johnson, D-Houston, vice chair
Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth
Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen
Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission
Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas
Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Houston
Rep. Cody Vasut, R-Angleton
Rep. David Spiller, R-Jacksboro
Rep. Erin Elizabeth Gámez, D-Brownsville
 
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named seven senators to serve on a special rules committee for the Senate’s impeachment trial. The chair will be Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury and Sen. “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, will serve as vice chair. Other members are Sens. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, Joan Huffman, R-Houston, Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Royce West, D-Dallas. The Senate will consider impeachment rules on June 20. The trial must start by August 28.

The Texas Constitution allows for impeachment but what do subsequent statutes and court rulings indicate?

First, Texas statute addresses acts committed before the most recent election. Texas Government Code 665.081 has been referred to as the “forgiveness doctrine” since it defines respect for the electoral decisions of voters: 
 
“Sec. 665.081.  NO REMOVAL FOR ACTS COMMITTED BEFORE ELECTION TO OFFICE.  (a)  An officer in this state may not be removed from office for an act the officer may have committed before the officer’s election to office.”
 
In 1924, the Texas Supreme Court made this point in Reeves v. State of Texas Ex Rel. Mason, 267 S.W. 666 (Tex. 1924).  Click here to read, paying particular attention to the 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the end of the document.
 
Texas House impeachment process deeply flawed

Texas House impeachment procedures were inadequate and rushed, with witnesses testifying without being put under oath and no cross-examination of witnesses.  We learned this during questioning of State Rep. Andy Murr (R–Kerrville), Chair of the House General Investigating Committee, by State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler). Oddly, key people cited by the investigation were never even called as witnesses. Click here to read the exchange between Schaefer and Murr recorded in the House Journal starting on page 5635. If you continue to read, you will see further questioning of the process by Reps. Tinderholt and Schatzline.

Take Action – Contact Republican Senators
Urge Republican Senators to focus on the law and to contrast that with the rushed “backroom” House process as the Senate conducts their own due diligence.

Urge them to avoid any appearance of merely providing cover for their Republican House colleagues who refused to proceed with transparency, due process, and time for Representatives to study the matter before voting.  

Texans should be able to trust the actions of Republicans to comply with the law as they embark on such a sobering and serious matter as removing a statewide official from office. Republican Senators must not yield to media, lobbyists, or Uni-party operatives to carry out this serious judicial procedure. 

Action 1: Write an encouraging and respectful personal “snail mail” letter to Republican Senators expressing your concerns. Why? Your personal “snail mail” letters in hand-addressed envelopes get attention because they are so rare!  Time to message them the old-fashioned way! Click here to find their addresses.

Action 2: Email the Republican Senators. Why? Don’t put all your eggs in the postal delivery basket! Make sure these Republican Senators receive your encouragement!  Click here to email all Republican Senators.

Be sure to remember that Texas State Senators cannot reply back to you or comment on the case.  (See the inserted graphic of their May 27 statement above.)

Thank you so much for taking action when you are tired of Austin and tired of political noise in general!

Praying for Truth and Righteousness to prevail in all things,

Phelan Inc. Backroom Impeachement

Phelan Inc. Backroom Impeachement

Below JoAnn’s statement and Rep. Schaefer’s statement is a CALL to ACTION.  JoAnn asks that you take the time to contact the Republican State Representatives and Republican Senators.  Let them know Texans deserve the facts and the truth – not a bogus impeachment hearing where witnesses and evidence are hidden from our Representatives. We’ve made the process easy, and it will only take minutes to help stop utter treachery.

JoAnn’s statement:
“I remain out of state with family responsibilities and cannot instantly answer hundreds of emails, texts and calls.  
 
“There’s also this principle called “due diligence” and it is my responsibility to make sure Grassroots
America has made every attempt to conduct due diligence before we release statements. If due diligence is out of our reach because the information is protected, then I look to TRUSTED sources – not hotheads or those who are professional discord profiteers.
 
“My favored standard on all things is Proverbs 18:13: “He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him.”  That means before I start declaring guilt or innocence, I want to see the facts.  We try extremely hard not to make decisions based solely on emotion or on who we like or don’t like. Facts matter. Truth matters. Process matters. If a process is so flawed that it will NOT yield evidence upon which one can accurately discern the facts in order to get to the Truth, then the process is too flawed to trust.  
 
“State Representative Matt Schaefer conducted and provided the due diligence for which we were looking.  His statement is below.  I recommend that you read it, re-read it, and learn from it.  This is a WISE way of approaching such a grave matter as removing someone from office – whether you personally support that person or not. 
 
“Due process, transparency, and access to witnesses and evidence should be the standard in the Texas House but there is now abundant evidence the standards are much too low there.”  JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director

May 26, 2023

Rep. Matt Schaefer’s statement on the impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Ken Paxton:

“I have grave concerns with the process that has been used in the impeachment investigation of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Under the direction of Speaker Phelan, the House Committee on General Investigating has conducted its business for many weeks outside the knowledge of rank and file members of the Texas House. To my knowledge not a single member of the Texas House has interviewed, or directed questions to a single witness, and that includes members of the General Investigating Committee. All interviews were conducted by hired staff.

Nor have any transcripts of interviews with witnesses conducted by committee staff been provided to the members of the full House. Nor have members been provided with substantiating documents.

To be clear, the full Texas House has not heard any testimony from witnesses, nor have we been provided transcripts of such testimony.

As I write this, I cannot determine whether those witnesses were under oath when they were interviewed by staff. I asked two members of the committee and they did not know the answer. Furthermore, it is the stated intent of Speaker Phelan and Chairman Murr that no direct evidence will be provided to the full House when the articles of impeachment are called up for consideration.

Texas Government Code Sec. 665.005 states that the full house may compel testimony. The only transcript that has been provided to the full House was the transcript of staff members of the General Investigating Committee presenting an account of their findings to the committee on May 24th, 2023. After speaking to the parliamentarian of the House, reading the transcript, and asking questions to some members of the General Investigating Committee, I believe this process is being rushed. I do not believe that members of the House have a good understanding of the adequacy, legality, or fairness of the impeachment process.  We are being asked to vote on impeachment tomorrow, Saturday, May 27th while in the midst of considering the House budget, and many other legislative items of great importance.

I am deeply disturbed by the way this is being handled. Political considerations seem to be involved.

The weight of the decision we face as members of the Texas House of Representatives is enormous. The practical consequence of impeaching the Attorney General is to overturn an election decided by the voters of Texas. Many (but not all) of the allegations in the impeachment resolution were known to some extent by the voting public at the time of the election.

I publicly opposed Ken Paxton’s re-election in the Republican primary, and I called out his very serious moral and legal failings. But if it is right to impeach Ken Paxton, it is being done in the wrong way. Barring a drastic change in the nature of the House proceedings on impeachment, I will be voting no.

I will vote no because I do not have confidence in the procedure. This impeachment procedure may be a significant departure from the due process considerations afforded during similar proceedings in Texas history. I cannot vote to impeach when the members of the full House have had no direct access to witnesses or supporting documents, and have had no time to properly prepare and understand the matters in question.

The simple truth is that the evidentiary basis to impeach Attorney General Paxton has not been properly established.

Process matters.”

Matt Schaefer
State Representative, District Six

Contact every Republican State Representative and State Senator by Email and follow up with a call to their office telling them that Process Matters and the Texas Legislature shouldn’t operate like the Banana Republic that DC has become. 

Unanimous, strong endorsement of Judge Sara Maynard

Unanimous, strong endorsement of Judge Sara Maynard

Unanimous, strong endorsement of Judge Sara Maynard

Smith County Court at Law 2

March 2024 Republican Primary Election 

Appointed by the Smith County Commissioners Court to fill the bench vacancy, Sara Maynard has been serving as Smith County Court at Law 2 Judge since January of 2023. In that time, she has reduced the office budget and the backlog of cases.  This court handles family law matters, including protective orders, divorces, and child custody, as well as criminal misdemeanors and all extraditions for Smith County, and civil matters such as contract disputes, eminent domain, and personal injuries.

Judge Maynard served the prior four years as an assistant district attorney prosecuting both misdemeanor and felony cases in the juvenile court of Smith County.

She began her career by founding and managing her own business for over 20 years – a law firm dealing in civil, criminal, and family law.  Her business experience affords her the ability to make tough budgetary decisions while striving to do the job right – delivering the highest quality services at the very best price.  Judge Maynard also served as a prosecutor at Tyler Municipal Court for twelve years.

Additionally, Judge Maynard has a long record of service. She served as an appointed volunteer Emergency Services District 2 Commissioner and filled the role of secretary for the Board of Commissioners, working tirelessly to ensure accountability for tax dollars spent.  She and her husband Roy coached debate at Good Shepherd School, qualifying 20 students to the prestigious national tournament in 20 years.  As an attorney in private practice, she became one of less than a hundred attorneys Board Certified in Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Judge Maynard has a long history of community involvement, including the Smith County Republican Women’s Club, serving as Secretary for the Smith County Republican Club, as a founding board member for the new conservative Lindale Republican Club, as a Republican precinct chair, an election judge, and parliamentarian for the Smith County Republican Party. She is a long-time member of Grassroots America, served on their Local Government Watchdog Committee, and has taught parliamentary procedure to their Coalition leaders.

Judge Maynard’s record and practice have long demonstrated that she values the principles of limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.  She is committed to the separation of powers, and believes that a judge must administer the law, rather than make new law. In observing her service as judge for the last several months, we are certain that we can count on Judge Sara Maynard to never “write law” from the bench. We therefore strongly urge Smith County voters to hire her at the ballot box in March 2024 to serve as Judge of the Smith County Court at Law 2 bench. 

JoAnn Fleming

Executive Director

For the Board of Directors, Grassroots America – We the People PAC™

Statement on Slaton

Statement on Slaton

May 8, 2023

For Immediate Release

With deep disappointment and great sadness, the Board of Directors of Grassroots America – We the People PAC, after having read the published May 6th report of the Texas House General Investigating Committee into the matter of State Representative Bryan L. Slaton, calls on Representative Slaton to immediately resign.  

The report detailing sworn statements by direct witnesses, actions of obstruction, an utter lack of exculpatory evidence provided by Mr. Slaton or his attorney, and no evidence of remorse, leaves us no other choice than to conclude that Mr. Slaton knowingly violated his oath of office, House rules, and labor laws. Evidence also strongly suggests that Slaton committed offenses under Texas law by providing alcohol to minors, by abusing his office, and by committing acts of official oppression.

A 45-year-old married man with children sexually pursuing a 19-year-old woman in his employ, while knowingly plying her and another underage woman with alcohol is predatory, irresponsible, and disgraceful.

Our hearts are broken for our dear friends – Mr. Slaton’s sweet, devoted parents – for his wife, children, the constituents and supporters who placed their faith and trust in Mr. Slaton, and his victim and her family.  We pray that Mr. Slaton heeds the multiple calls for his resignation, sparing the Texas House from spending time on his expulsion rather than the legislative work for the people of Texas. He should apologize and commence the road to true repentance before God – a painful but sure path that leads to forgiveness and healing.

JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director

MaryAnne Aiken

Sue Evenwel

Toni Fabry

Craig Licciardi

Joshua Machiavello

James Speiran

P.O. Box 130012 ¨ Tyler, TX 75713 ¨ (903) 360-2858 ¨ Paid for by Grassroots America – We the People PAC™
Slay the Dragon in Your Neighborhood

Slay the Dragon in Your Neighborhood

Fighting Fentanyl by Jon Spiers

 

Fentanyl. We hear new tragic stories of Fentanyl every day. While Fentanyl is a valuable medicine in the carefully regulated and monitored healthcare setting, it has a deadly track record on the streets. Nowhere is this more heartbreaking than when discussing the damage done to our children. Overdoses at middle school, high school, and college campuses fill every parent —every decent person — with disgust and dread.

Not even two years ago, I wrote of an interaction I had with a fifth-grade class as part of an outreach program, discussing their hopes, dreams, and the dangers of drugs. (You can read that piece in the Denton Record-Chronicle here.) I was amazed at the children’s street smarts. They could reel off not only the names of the drugs – street names – and they spoke with authority about the effects of the drugs on the body.

That 90 minutes was a master’s class in drug culture taught by 10-year-olds. I have often recalled that session because of one young boy who nonchalantly spoke about “Birria,” slang for a drug that was much less common then but all too common today.

“Birria” – like “TNT,” “Freddy,” “Goodfella,” and “Jackpot” – is a slang term for Fentanyl.

Fentanyl has become a common threat in every neighborhood, county, and campus in our state and nation. No matter where we get our news, Fentanyl seizures and stories of lives ruined – or lost – are ever-present.

In a world turned upside down by a virus leaked from a lab, more terrifying is an addictive chemical so potent that a gram, the weight of an ordinary packet of synthetic sweetener, could kill 500 persons.

When I spoke about drug overdoses, gang violence, and Mexican drug cartels a few years ago, many in attendance were confident those were problems only in Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio. “Surely,” they said, “Fentanyl will not impact our lives in our safe, respectable suburban and rural communities.” If anywhere, they reasoned, Fentanyl use might spread to college campuses.

We have seen the spread of Fentanyl to campuses ranging from the University of Texas to Midwestern State University. A typical scenario is when young people take what they believe is Adderall, a medication they believe helps them study better, only to discover too late that the pill that looked just like a genuine Adderall was a mixture of Fentanyl and some other drug, like Cocaine or Methamphetamine. The result can be tragic.

Others crave the high of opioids, but the impact of Fentanyl is not limited to these abusers. “Good kids” are snared because they think they are taking legitimate medication for problems ranging from chronic pain to anxiety. Often Fentanyl is disguised to look like a genuine tablet of some other known medicine. Some don’t comprehend that taking any pill sold on the street invites addiction and death, regardless of the pill’s appearance and its vendor’s alleged trustworthiness.

We have endured Fentanyl overdoses at middle and high schools, where the drug has taken lives in schools as diverse as those in Carrolton, Lubbock, Tomball, and Georgetown. Almost all the survivors of overdoses tell a familiar story – they thought they were taking a stolen but otherwise legitimate pill, not some sinister concoction created in an illicit manufacturing laboratory.

Until recently, chemicals from China or India were transformed into Fentanyl in Mexican drug cartels’ easily hidden illicit laboratories – often no more than a shed. More recently, the cartels and their affiliates have been processing the precursor chemicals in small labs in the United States. Recently a suspected cartel operation was thwarted in Houston, hidden in a business that conveniently operated taco trucks.

The manufacture of Fentanyl is cheaper and easier than for many other illicit drugs, and the space required is minimal. An illicit drug-manufacturing apprenticeship is short and inexact. Adequacy, not excellence, is the cartel standard.

While Fentanyl powder is easy to transport, it does have drawbacks. While handling Fentanyl powder, inhaling the powder may be lethal. Today Fentanyl is often transported as a pill.

Machines purchased abroad create pills that look identical to legitimate pharmaceuticals. The Chinese sources who launder cartel funds and provide precursor chemicals also offer a variety of pill presses. Cartels use these machines to manufacture hundreds of thousands of pills quickly.

Color is essential when mimicking existing pharmaceuticals. Some Oxycodone tablets are pale blue, for example, so the cartels mimic the blue color and press a pill with the imprint of a legitimate supplier to make the deadly counterfeit.

But the cartels also make pills with various colors and varied imprints that do not mimic known pharmaceuticals.

These rainbow-colored tablets resemble popular candy. The devices that make pills are just as efficient at making pill-shaped candies. While they often have the imprint seen on the pharmaceuticals they mimic, these colored tablets may have a variety of imprints – or no imprint – and can be packed into candy boxes to disguise their true nature.

These fake pills are sold to the unsuspecting with terrible consequences. In legitimate pharmaceuticals, the ingredients are strictly controlled and uniformly distributed throughout the product. When the cartels manufacture fake medications, there is no consistency within each batch and certainly none between batches. Fillers may be as benign as confectioners’ sugar, as bland as baking soda, or as deadly as rat poison. Sometimes the cartels mix their products, attempting to mimic the effect of legitimate pharmaceuticals. Cocaine plus Fentanyl, Methamphetamine plus Fentanyl, Heroin plus Fentanyl – anything goes for the cartels, and all are deadly.

Even “Fentanyl” is not always Fentanyl. The cartels don’t have exacting standards of quality control. Fentanyl analogs are byproducts of each batch. These Fentanyl derivatives may be more potent than the already powerful Fentanyl. While Fentanyl is about 100 times as powerful as Morphine, some Fentanyl derivatives are even deadlier.

Some of these products are so new they have not been characterized by researchers or scheduled as controlled substances by the DEA. In the past, drugs that were not scheduled were technically not illegal despite their origin and intent. Congress has preemptively scheduled these derivatives and analogs to close the loophole.

Seizures of Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogs, and Fentanyl precursors are increasing each year. Last year enough Fentanyl to kill 3.3 billion people was intercepted entering the United States. This year that number may be closer to 6 billion as the flow of drugs across our southern border continues to rise. In the past, many drug seizures occurred at ports of entry, where drugs were hidden in cargo. Drugs continue to cross our borders this way.

Complicating the drug trade is our lax border security, allowing more to enter between traditional ports than ever before. With the targeted surge of illegal immigrants flooding particular zones and sapping enforcement resources, Fentanyl comes across our border between ports in smaller batches but in greater total volume. Estimates of the quantity of illicit drugs like Fentanyl eluding detection are conservative guesses. It is possible – likely even – that more enters the nation between traditional ports than anyone has predicted.

We can – and must – fight back. Increasing the availability of Naloxone can aid in battling the impact of Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which can reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone does not replace emergency medical care. Irreversible brain damage can occur after less than four minutes without breathing. The average response time for emergency medical services is about 7 minutes, so early intervention is crucial. Because criminals often mix Fentanyl with other medications, the effectiveness of Naloxone may be offset by the second drug. Despite this, in cases of overdose, Naloxone should be a first-line intervention. EMS (911) should be called for every suspected overdose.

Harm reduction strategies, such as using Fentanyl test strips to test for Fentanyl in illicit drugs, also have potential merit. Research is underway to determine if Fentanyl test strips and other strategies modify behavior and save lives.

Enhanced penalties for crimes involving controlled substances are another valuable tool. Texas House Bill 2107 will strengthen the punishment for certain offenses involving Fentanyl. This legislation is a start, not the end, so its passage will not end the problem. It is too easy for drug dealers to escape appropriate severe punishment. HB2107 starts us on the proper trajectory.

Securing the border to detect incursion and drug transport is critical to a comprehensive Fentanyl strategy. A border security network of enhanced technological and physical barriers with strengthened manpower is necessary. The federal government must reverse its open border policy to address this drug crisis and the humanitarian crisis of human trafficking that Biden’s policies have fostered.

On a more local level, we must admit that everyone is at risk. Fentanyl is egalitarian in its lethality and addictive properties. No neighborhood is safe, no kid is too smart, and no one is too well-informed. Do not avoid the tough discussions; don’t be too proud to ask for help.

Our lives –our children’s lives – hang in the balance. It is time to tip the scales our way.

Dr. Jon Spiers is a contributing member of the TCG Coalition, additionally he is a heart surgeon, an attorney, a father, an Army Reserve surgeon, and an entrepreneur. Dr. Jon is married to Texas Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair, Dr. Dana Myers.

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©2023 Jon Spiers