A former senior official who worked at the Texas attorney general’s office said that a second whistleblower has been fired after reporting Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, to law enforcement “for crimes including bribery and abuse of office,” according to an October 22 article from The Texas Tribune The official who reported the whistleblower’s firing wants to remain anonymous “for fear of legal repercussions.”
Blake Brickman, who worked as the deputy attorney general for policy and strategy initiatives, was fired on October 20. Brickman was one of 7 “top aides in Paxton’s office who alerted law enforcement weeks ago that they believed their boss had run afoul of the law,” according to the article. Paxton’s former top aide Lacey Mase, who was also one of the 7 individuals, was fired earlier in the same week and told The Texas Tribune that the decision “was not voluntary.”
The group of 7 employees “accused Paxton of using the power of his office to serve the financial interests of a donor,” according to the article. On October 1, the group wrote a letter to their human resources department that stated they had a “good faith belief that the attorney general is violating federal and/or state law including prohibitions related to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses.”
Since the employees sent the letter, Paxton’s most senior aide Jeff Mateer has resigned. Paxton has also “placed two other top aides on leave,” though “the agency has not answered repeated questions about the employment of the other whistleblowers, or what cause Paxton had to fire Mase and Brickman,” according to the October 22 The Texas Tribune article. Brickman has declined to comment on his termination.
Paxton has claimed that the allegations are untrue and “dismissed the whistleblowers as ‘rogue employees,’” according to the article.
“This situation looks like what the Texas Whistleblower Act was designed to prevent. And the timing looks bad,” North Texas employment attorney Jason Smith told The Texas Tribune.