Commentary Abortion

Texas Attorney General, Under Investigation for Securities Fraud, Rushes to Investigate Planned Parenthood

Andrea Grimes

Texas Attorney General and noted violator of state securities law Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that his office has launched "an official investigation into Planned Parenthood" after the release of a heavily edited video showing the organization's senior medical director talking about fetal tissue donations for research.

See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress video here.

Texas Attorney General and noted violator of state securities law Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that his office has—not will, but has—launched “an official investigation into Planned Parenthood” after an anti-choice group released a heavily edited video that shows the organization’s senior medical director talking about fetal tissue donations for research.

That should provide a nice distraction to keep Paxton occupied while he waits around to be potentially indicted on yet more allegations of securities fraud. Paxton received, and paid, a $1,000 fine in 2014 after admitting to taking a paycheck to solicit clients for an investment firm without first registering with the state securities board. The lack of investigation by the county district attorney, a friend of Paxton’s, of that offense—which could have been prosecuted as a felony, but wasn’t—prompted the assignment of a special prosecutor to Paxton’s case. That prosecutor has said that his team has now turned up evidence that Paxton had engaged in more egregious fraudulent behavior than originally alleged.

If I were Paxton, I’d be glad to deflect the spotlight right about now, too.

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And to be sure, Paxton’s Planned Parenthood investigation is nothing but a distraction, a politically titillating farce meant to shore up Paxton’s reputation with the right-wing primary voters who run the state. Anyone with critical thinking skills, a couple of hours and access to Google could check out the Center for Medical Progress’ entire two-hour video (or a transcript of same) and conclude that, while the subject matter and tone may be discomfiting to many viewers, there simply isn’t anything illegal going on in it.

That didn’t stop Paxton’s office from launching wholesale into its “investigation,” whatever that means—a Texas AG press flak told me that “we can’t discuss the details of ongoing investigations.”

Is Paxton investigating all Texas Planned Parenthood locations or affiliates? Or only the ones which provide legal abortion care, in addition to services like affordable cancer screenings, contraception, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections? Is Paxton concerned that Planned Parenthood has broken any specific laws? Will Paxton’s office be sending its findings, whatever they may be, to the state senate Health and Human Services Committee, which has been tasked by our lieutenant governor to hold a “hearing” about Planned Parenthood?

The flak wouldn’t say. Ongoing investigation and all. But rest easy knowing that Paxton is going into this investigation with the careful restraint and cultivated objectivity any of us would want if we were on the receiving end of Lady Justice’s blind gaze. Like Ken Paxton, Texas’ chief legal and law enforcement officer, currently is.

“The Office of the Attorney General has launched an official investigation into Planned Parenthood following the release of a video that details the organization’s calculated slaughter of human babies to maximize the available body parts they plan to sell,” said Paxton in a press statement.

Paxton continued: “The video offers a glimpse into an organization that knowingly and deliberately destroys human life to further its bottom line.”

Who knows what Paxton’s investigation might turn up? Too soon to tell! Innocent until proven guilty, or something! Best not to speculate, and let Paxton do the good work that roughly 10 percent of the entire population of Texas elected him to do.

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