AG Paxton calls for Texas Speaker Dade Phelan to resign, accuses him of being drunk on House floor

Attorney General Ken Paxton has called on Texas House Speaker Dade Pahelan to step down, claiming that the Republican from Beaumont “was in an obviously drunken state” when presiding the House.

Paxton has called for Phelan to resign, but a House Committee revealed that it is investigating Paxton and the office over an attempt to use taxpayer funds to pay back his settlement with whistleblowers.

Phelan’s resignation has been called for by the Attorney General, who is currently the highest-ranking state official.

Phelan’s office responded, saying that a committee was investigating Paxton’s office and that his comments were an effort to “save faces.”


A video taken from the House floor after a 14-hour long session on Friday evening showed Phelan appearing slurring his words while discussing an amendment to a Senate Bill. The video went viral over the weekend.

Paxton, a Republican as well, released a statement about the incident on Tuesday:

“After careful consideration, I am deeply disappointed that I have asked Speaker Dade Phelan for his resignation at the end this legislative session. Texans were shocked to see him preside over the Texas House while in a debilitating state of intoxication. His conduct has negatively affected the legislative process, and represents a failure to fulfill his duty to public,” said the statement.

He continued, “While I hope that Speaker Phelan gets the help he requires, he has shown himself to be unworthy of the trust of Texans and incapable of leading Texas House.”

FOX 4 received a letter that Paxton sent to Andrew Murr, the Chairman of the General Investigations Committee. In it, Paxton called for an investigation on Speaker Phelan because he “violated House Rules and State Laws as well as for conduct unbecoming of his position”.

Paxton failed to provide any evidence in support of his claims.

The House should investigate thoroughly all appearances and apply rules equally and fairly. “We will not comment further until the facts are more thoroughly developed,” said GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi, in a FOX 4 statement.

Matthew Wilson, a political scientist at SMU, says that it is well-known that some legislators have a few drinks when they leave the floor of the session. He claims that the video paints a negative picture of the speaker.

The issue is whether a member of the House appears in a clearly intoxicated condition to conduct state business. “That’s where the criticism is going to come,” said he. “Not if he was drunk. Many people do this. The video shows that his ability to conduct business for the state was seriously impaired.

Cal Jillson, professor of political science at SMU, was shown the video by FOX 4.

“I would need to know more before I came to the same conclusion as Attorney General Paxton. I’ve seen a lot videos of the Texas House. Often, the videos are of poor quality. The video is very garbled. This video makes Phelan appear bad. However, I need to learn more about him because he was a stable guy during the last two sessions and for most of this one as Speaker. “I find it implausible that he was drunk when he arrived and slurred his words,” said Phelan.

Wilson says that while there are legitimate concerns over whether Phelan is intoxicated or not, there’s also a political aspect to this.

Phelan has been criticized by the Lt. Governor for his recent comments. Dan Patrick opposes Patrick’s priority legislation like school vouchers and property tax relief in the House.

Phelan was also against Paxton’s request that the legislature approve a $3.3-million payment as a settlement of a lawsuit filed by Paxton.

There’s bad blood between Phelan, the Attorney General and other staffers. This is because of a public incident that occurred a few months ago when Phelan stated the state should not pay for the settlement reached by the Attorney General with the disgruntled employees who accused him misconduct.

The House Investigative Committee revealed that it had been investigating the Attorney General’s Office since March, just hours after Paxton made his statement.

The committee sent an preservation notice to AG’s Office so that any possible evidence wouldn’t be destroyed.

The notice stated that “the committee will hold an open hearing tomorrow morning at 8 am to hear a presentation on’matter A’.”

The AG’s office is the subject of ‘Matter A,’ specifically the investigation into the $3.3 Million settlement.

The chair said that this meeting had already been scheduled before Paxton’s Tuesday statement.

In response to Paxton’s resignation call, the communication director for Speaker Phelan never asked whether the speaker had been drunk.

Cait Wittman said in a Phelan statement that the motives and timing of Paxton’s announcement today could not be more obvious. “Mr. Paxton’s today statement is little more than an attempt to save face.”

Wilson doesn’t think that the speaker will resign due to the pressure from the allegations.

Phelan currently serves his fourth team of State Representatives for Texas’s district 21.