The attorney general accused the foundation of using taxpayer funds to make charitable contributions to organizations that “encourage, participate in, and fund illegal immigration.”
Paxton stated in a news release on Friday that the investigation commenced after “credible complaints” were offered by Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX-22) and other unnamed sources.
“Unfortunately, at the very time that our state is facing an unprecedented border crisis and our brave men and women are serving Texas in Operation Lone Star, it appears that the liberal State Bar’s handpicked cronies are misusing charitable funds to make the situation even worse,” the attorney general said.
“I will not let this illegal behavior continue any further. Thank you to Congressman Nehls and other concerned citizens for bringing this to my attention.”
The Texas Bar Foundation’s trustees are appointed by the State Bar of Texas.
The senior attorney for the Charitable Trusts Division, Mary Henderson, detailed the accusations in a letter to the foundation’s executive director, Angela Castilleja, and its chair, Wendy Burgower.
Henderson demanded a record of the last decade of contributions to “immigration related charitable programs,” as well as accounting documents, meeting minutes, and other information related to the oversight of the donations.
Earlier on Friday, Paxton said the State Bar was suing him in relation to an ethics complaint regarding his lawsuit challenging the process and results of the 2020 presidential election in four states, calling the entity “a liberal activist group masquerading as a neutral professional association.”
The State Bar responded to the accusation, stating, “Partisan political considerations play no role in determining whether to pursue a grievance or how that grievance proceeds through the system.”
Paxton is facing Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a runoff for the Republican nomination on May 24.
The attorney general and his challenger have both sought to position themselves as strong proponents of border security.
Border agents made over 129,000 arrests of illegal aliens in Texas sectors in March, the last month for which federal data is available.
A copy of Henderson’s letter to the Texas Bar Foundation can be found below.
Daniel Friend contributed to this report.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."