Two senior officials in the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) who had raised concerns about Attorney General Ken Paxton violating state and federal law were reportedly fired this week.
Lacey Mase, who worked as the deputy attorney general for administration, and Blake Brickman, who worked as the deputy attorney general for policy and strategy initiatives, had co-signed a letter on October 1 with five other top aides raising concerns about Paxton.
“We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses,” they wrote.
The next day, First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer, the senior-most official below Paxton, resigned.
First reported by the Texas Tribune, Mase said on Tuesday evening that she had been fired from the OAG and that, “It was not voluntary.”
According to the Tribune, Mase had been given promotions throughout her career at the OAG, rising from a $50,000 salary in 2013 to $200,000 most recently.
Mase is currently running to be a trustee of the Round Rock Independent School District.
On Thursday, The Houston Chronicle reported that Brickman had also been fired on Tuesday.
Brickman served as the chief of staff for former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and was hired by the OAG in February.
The OAG had not responded to a request for comment regarding the reported firings by the time of publication.
Two other aides who signed the whistleblower letter against Paxton have reportedly been placed on investigative leave.
Mark Penley, the deputy attorney general for criminal justice, is said to have been placed on leave shortly after the letter was sent.
Ryan Vassar, the deputy attorney general for legal counsel, was placed on investigative leave on Monday, according to the Tribune.
After the accusations against the attorney general became public, Paxton criticized the aides in his office as “rogue employees” making “false allegations.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21), who served as Paxton’s top assistant at the start of his tenure, called for Paxton to resign shortly after the allegations were made.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick fell short of calling for Paxton’s resignation, saying that they were concerned about the allegations but wanted to wait for further information.
A focal point of the controversy surrounding Paxton involves his support in an investigation aiding Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, whose home and offices were raided by the FBI in 2019.
That investigation came to an end earlier this month amidst the allegations, though the firings this week indicate that the controversy is hardly over.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.