For a Feb. 15 article, Newsmax let opinion writer Michael Dorstewitz -- whom we've caught spouting election fraud conspiracy theories -- try his hand at "news." Unsurprisingly, Dorstewitz's "news" article reads not unlike an opinion piece, desperate to deflect corruption allegations against Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is the subject of another witch hunt — which he has repeatedly been targeted with almost from the moment of his initial election to that post in 2014 as a tea party candidate.
This time the Lone Star State's top prosecutor is accused of accepting a bribe.
Specifically, in exchange for helping a political donor with his business affairs, Paxton is accused of accepting remodeling work on his home, and obtaining a job for an alleged girlfriend, according to court documents obtained The Texas Tribune.
His accusers are four former senior aides Paxton had fired from the attorney general's office.
They allege he used his office to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul settle a lawsuit and investigate his business rivals. Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton's 2018 re-election campaign.
The four aides who sued Paxton in November after being fired are: James Brickman, David Maxwell, J. Mark Penley, and Ryan Vassar.
They claim the firings were retaliation for reporting Paxton's activities to federal and state law enforcement agencies, alleging Paxton was abusing his power to help Paul.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on the matter, which Paxton described as "false allegations" that were brought by "rogue employees."
Dorstewitz misleads by dismissing the whistleblowers as "aides"; in fact, they were senior attorneys in the office, most of whom were suspiciously fired around the time they made their allegations against him. (Paxton's attorneys deny any connection but have offered no details explaining why the attorneys were fired.)
Dorstewitz declared that "The lawsuit itself appears long on accusations but short on details," and that "It might also be an uphill battle for Paxton's accusers." He then pushed a Paxton-friendly recounting of the case:
Although Paul admitted Paxton recommended the alleged girlfriend to him, he said that was all it was — a recommendation and not a quid pro quo.
Political donors make recommendations to elected officials all the time. So what is the crime?
As it turns out, the woman is a former staffer of Paxton's wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton.
On the remodeling issue, the lawsuit states, "In mid-2020, some of the Plaintiffs received information suggesting that Nate Paul, either personally or through [a] construction company he owns and controls, was involved in the project."
However, the filing also admitted Paxton's $1 million Tarrytown, Texas, neighborhood home, which he purchased in 2018, underwent renovations in 2020, "although permitting records in Travis County could not be located."
The accusers again offer no evidence of any wrongdoing.
In fact, the alleged wrongdoing is that Paul renovated Paxton's house and hired Paxton's girlfriend in return for Paxton's office hiring an outside attorney to look into claims Paul made of alleged mistreatment when his home and business were raided by the FBI, after attorneys in Paxton's office found "no credible evidence" that Paul's rights were violated.
Dorstewitz then suggested that Paxton was being persecuted because he was a Trump supporter, even though the controversy started well before the 2020 presidential election:
Paxton has long supported President Trump and conservative causes.
When Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by using widely distributed mail-in ballots, ignoring their own state election laws during the 2020 election, Paxton's Texas led a lawsuit he filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.
He alleged, states like Texas were denied equity under the Constitution, since they abided by voting rules set down by his state's legislature, whereas other states made up rules.
Dorstewitz did a fine job of playing the victim card for Paxton.