Breckenridge Texan

Local billboard brings politics of attorney general impeachment to Breckenridge

Local billboard brings politics of attorney general impeachment to Breckenridge
July 09
15:06 2023

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

The current fight over the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Austin has made its way to Breckenridge with a billboard that was put up along West Walker Street recently.

The billboard contains a large photo of State Representative Glenn Rogers, who represents Breckenridge, and the words, “Glenn Rogers Joined 61 Democrats to Impeach Ken Paxton.”

In addition to the sign in Breckenridge, Rogers said there at least three other similar billboards in his district, which includes Stephens, Palo Pinto and Parker counties. He said he knows of two billboards located on Interstate 20 in the Willow Park area; one on Highway 281, south of Mineral Wells; and the one in Stephens County. He said there may be others he does not know about.

On May 27, as detailed in a Texas Tribune article, members of the Texas House of Representatives voted 121 – 23 to impeach Paxton. Rogers was one of 61 Democrats and 60 Republican members who voted to impeach Paxton; there were 23 Republican members who voted against impeaching him.

“I mean, that billboard is obviously just the half truth, and a half-truth is a lie,” Rogers said. “So they say that I voted with 60 Democrats or whatever. I also voted with 72% of the Republicans. And they conveniently leave that out. It’s just another example of their deceptive half-truths and outright lies that they routinely use in campaigns.”

There is a statement across the bottom of the billboard that says “Pol. Ad paid for by Defend Texas Liberty PAC.” According to a story published in March 2022 in the Texas Tribune the group opposed 19 Republican members of the Texas House, including Glenn Rogers, during the 2022 election.

Also, according to the story, the PAC is led by former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and backed by what the article referred to as “hard-right donors like Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, West Texas oil tycoons.”

At least three other billboards, similar to the one in Breckenridge, have been put up in other counties. (Courtesy Photo)

In a phone interview with the Breckenridge Texan, Rogers said the PAC was a big supporter of his opponent Mike Olcott during the 2022 election and they had spent a large amount of money going after him. “Yeah, we estimate they spent about $2 million against me in the last campaign,” he said.

Rogers said the $2 million estimate was based on what his campaign knows about the cost of campaign mailers and radio and TV ads. He said because of the way the Ethics Commission reporting works, the group only has to report how much they spend in total, not in detail.

“So we don’t have an exact number; that’s just an estimate based on what we know those things cost,” he said. “And if they don’t think two million is the right number, just tell us…what is the right number? We’d like to know. But that’s our best estimate.”

Before the impeachment vote was held, Rogers said, there was about a four-hour hearing in the House of Representatives’ General Investigating Committee, where they had attorneys who had put together the case (Recorded video of the hearing can be found from several sources on YouTube.)

He said House members were instructed to look at the evidence presented and decide whether there was enough evidence to send the case to the Senate for a trial.

Rogers said Paxton faced a whistleblower lawsuit after firing employees who alleged they were terminated for exposing inappropriate activities within the Attorney General’s Office. The whistleblowers filed a lawsuit and were awarded a $3.3 million settlement. He said Paxton then requested that the State of Texas cover the legal fees, and, as a result, the House investigative committee launched an investigation to determine why taxpayer money should be spent on the lawsuit.

The committee ultimately recommended impeachment, which Rogers said is a rare occurrence in Texas history. There have been only been two other Texas officials who have been impeached. Both were removed from office by Senate conviction, Gov. James Ferguson in 1917 and District Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975.

“So we acted somewhat like a grand jury, where we made the determination that there was enough evidence to move it to trial. And that’s what we did,” Rogers said. “So we didn’t convict Ken Paxton, much like a grand jury doesn’t convict. We just said that there’s enough evidence for it to go to trial.”

Rogers said that after his vote, he was contacted by many constituents. “My office was inundated with phone messages, texts, emails,” Rogers said. “And I understand that people are upset about a fellow Republican going through this, and I respect what Ken Paxton has done for Texas and how he’s fought back against the Biden policies. But at the end of the day, there was compelling evidence that needed to be moved to the Senate for trial. And, you know, it’s not an easy vote to take. But, but in my mind, it was the right vote… I try to take the vote that I think is the right thing to do and the right thing for my district.

“If I took that vote 1,000 more times, I would vote the same way a 1,000 more times,” Rogers said. “And I’ve taken more hits over that vote than any vote I’ve ever taken in the legislature.”

However, Rogers said he’s also heard from people who support his vote. “Oh, yeah, I’m seeing both sides, certainly,” he said. “Those billboards, I’ve had more positive comments than negative. Of course, the billboards were really nonsense, obviously, and just tell half the story.”

Following the phone interview, Rogers said in a follow-up text message Thursday morning, “Our voters in District 60 are smart enough to see through this nonsense and consider the source of the information.”

Last week, the Breckenridge Texan tried to contact the Defend Texas Liberty PAC’s Jonathan Stickland about this article before we published it. On July 5 we sent a message requesting an interview with him via the “Contact Us” form on a website for Defend Texas Liberty PAC. After clicking the send button, we received an auto reply saying that we would receive a reply within 48 hours. However, as of today, Sunday, July 9, we have not received a reply. There was no phone number listed for the group on their website, only a P.O. Box address in Fort Worth and the link for the “Contact Us” form.


Photo cutline, top photo: A billboard featuring State Representative Glenn Rogers and his vote to impeach Ken Paxton was recently put up on the north side of West Walker in the 3000 block. At least three other billboards have been displayed in his district, including in Weatherford and along I-20. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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