Corruption at Pennsylvania’s largest cyber-charter school as founder charged with funneling $8 million into private account
August 27, 2013, 8:17 AM ET
After news broke on Saturday that President Joe Biden and United States House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) struck an agreement to avert an unprecedented default, Democratic strategist Kurt Bardella explained how Biden outmaneuvered McCarthy.
Biden said in a statement late Saturday night that "the agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. That's the responsibility of governing. And, this agreement is good news for the American people, because it prevents what could have been a catastrophic default and would have led to an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, and millions of jobs lost."
Likewise, CNN noted that "the agreement – which would raise the debt ceiling for two years, freeze spending on domestic programs, increase spending on defense and veterans issues, impose some new work requirements on federal food assistance programs and change some rules around energy permitting – was meant to include provisions that could sway members of both parties to vote for it. Yet even ahead of the deal's announcement, House members on both the left and right were already balking at some of the details said to be included in the package. Republicans who had demanded larger spending cuts threatened to withhold their support, while Democrats voiced concern that new rules on social safety net programs would send more Americans into poverty."
Appearing on MSNBC, Bardella pointed out that whether the US defaults now entirely depends upon McCarthy's ability to wrangle the "extremists" within his caucus.
"You know, I think actually because of this deal coming right now, the expectation game has been well managed now because the ball's really in Kevin McCarthy's court now. The pressure is on Kevin McCarthy to deliver the votes. If this thing falls apart now, it's going to be because of House Republicans — because of MAGA extremists — successfully holding McCarthy hostage once again, and that they are the ones who will get the blame. We will be done with this both sides narrative that each side has something to lose, that this could blow back on the president. No, no, no, no," Bardella said.
"The president made a deal. The president did what he was elected to do — deliver deals for the American people that protects the most vulnerable among us," Barella continued. "If this falls apart, if we default, if the economy craters, Kevin McCarthy is now the face of this deal. There's a reason why he was the one that was on camera tonight and not the president. So if this goes down because Matt Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert or any of those crazy cuckoo MAGA people decide to tank the US economy, it is one hundred percent going to be at the feet of the Republican Party and not the president."
Watch below or at this link:
\u201cBecause Biden got this deal done, the pressure is now 100% on Kevin McCarthy & Republicans in Congress. If this goes south and Republicans torpedo the deal, they will get all of the blame for the crisis that will ensue. Biden has won the expectations game.\n\n#KurtTakes @AymanMSNBC\u201d— Kurt Bardella (@Kurt Bardella) 1685246942
Kathie Glass traveled from Houston to the Texas Capitol on Saturday, eager to catch a landmark moment in Texas history firsthand. She plans to tell her granddaughter, Katie, about witnessing the first-ever impeachment of a state attorney general.
But she’s not happy with the outcome.
“It is an attempt to overthrow an election. I look at it as an attempted coup to disenfranchise voters like me who just four months ago voted for Ken Paxton knowing all these allegations were out there,” Glass said outside the House gallery immediately after the vote.
When Glass, who ran for governor as a libertarian in 2014, watched the House meet Friday, she thought impeachment was imminent. But throughout Saturday’s proceedings, she became hopeful Paxton would emerge unscathed after listening to state Reps. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, and Harold Dutton, D-Houston, cast doubt on the impeachment’s process.
Despite the vocal pushback, members voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton and suspend him from office until the Senate trial over accusations of bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and obstruction of justice.
“It was a civic lesson, but I was very displeased with the evidence,” Glass said.
When the vote board on the back wall of the House chamber that shows how members vote lit up with 121 green lights — well above the number needed to suspend the attorney general and force a trial — several people sitting in the gallery above turned to one another in surprise before slowly emptying out of the House. Many had waited in line for more than an hour to witness the proceedings.
Out in the hallway, Bruce Kravitz, a longtime Austin resident dressed in all blue to show his Democratic allegiance, was elated with the result of the vote.
“I’m very concerned about the integrity of our government officials, and it seems to me for a long time that Attorney General Paxton has been doing a lot of things that are not in keeping with what I expect an elected official to do,” he said. “So I wanted to come in person and see how our legislators would deal with this issue, and I was pleasantly surprised.”
Sixty Republicans, including House Speaker Dade Phelan, voted in favor of impeachment.
Paxton is accused of repeatedly abusing the powers of his office to help a political donor and friend, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. Investigators allege Paxton diverted staff time to help Paul at a labor cost of at least $72,000; misused official information by possibly helping Paul gain access to investigative documents; and retaliated against employees who complained of Paxton’s actions to the FBI.
At one point Saturday, investigating committee Vice Chair Ann Johnson, D-Houston, said a “distraught” Paxton disclosed an extramarital affair to members of his staff. She also said Paxton got Paul to hire the woman he allegedly had an affair with.
Kravitz said he wasn’t sure what to expect in an impeachment vote given how strong an influence Republicans have in Texas politics.
“Obviously, Ken Paxton must have really upset somebody,” he said. “So the adventure continues for the trial of the year in the Senate.”
The overwhelming opposition to Paxton came as a surprise to some who came hoping to see Paxton impeached. Some said this result was a long time in the making.
“The various ways that he has abused his power, they go into so many different spheres,” said Krista Laine, visibly relieved the day’s action was resolved. “It ranges from supporting his mistress through his office to the developer that he was constantly breaking the law on behalf of, issuing false subpoenas,” she said, laughing at the laundry list of allegations.
Laine said she came in part to see how her representative, Rep. Caroline Harris, R-Round Rock, would vote. She said she wasn’t surprised Harris voted against impeaching Paxton, but she didn’t think so few Republicans would vote in favor of the attorney general.
After the vote, the Capitol remained calm. No protests erupted outside, and the many tourists and visitors who filled the halls on a Saturday afternoon, taking selfies and wandering around, seemed to have no idea of the historic vote that had just taken place.
Two women walked out of the Capitol into the sunshine, one of them expressing surprise that the building remained open after 5 p.m. on a Saturday.
“They’re voting on something today,” the other one said, but she couldn’t remember what.
Earlier in the morning, before the impeachment hearings began, Texans lined up outside the House chamber for the rare chance to watch impeachment proceedings against a state attorney general — an unprecedented event that came at the tail end of the regular legislative session.
“I’m here to watch history in the making and stand for our Attorney General Ken Paxton,” said Marcia Watson, 60, with Citizens Defending Freedom, a political nonprofit.
Watson said none of the information revealed by the House General Investigating Committee, which has been secretly investigating Paxton since March, is new to voters and that voters reelected him despite the accusations and indictments against him.
She called the impeachment proceedings “political theater” and a “distraction” from the other bills that have yet to be voted on before the session ends in two days.
After the vote, Watson said she wasn’t surprised at the outcome but that it identified the lawmakers who had voted against their party.
“We’re separating the wheat from the chaff,” she said. “Now we know the 23 people we want to work hard to keep in office and the others we want to work hard to replace in the primary.”
She said she expects the Senate, which will now hold a trial over the charges, to exonerate Paxton. Then she walked back into the House chamber to watch as it returned to debating bills relating to the state budget and other matters it must complete before the end of the session Monday.
“It could be a late night,” she said.
Lucy Tompkins works for the Tribune as a housing and homelessness reporting fellow through The New York Times’ Headway Initiative, which is funded through grants from the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors serving as a fiscal sponsor.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/05/27/ken-paxton-impeachment-history/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
Rick Wilson — Lincoln Project co-founder and vocal Trump critic — is sharing his prediction for the 2024 primary and, by his projection, it doesn't look good for the Republican Party.
According to Wilson, former President Donald Trump would have to be "dead or in jail" for another Republican candidate to have a viable chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
To make matters worse, Wilson even suggested that incarceration might not be enough to diminish Trump's influence among voters. According to Mediaite, Wilson made his remarks during a recent segment of the "The Dean Obeidallah Show."
READ MORE: How Trump’s indictment worries brought the GOP presidential primary 'to a crashing halt': conservative
Obeidallah asked Wilson for his take on the feud between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
"Is there anything we can do to amplify a DeSantis-Trump divide if that race gets closer, even if it doesn’t?" he asked.
Comparing the political feud to a scene from the movie, "Jaws," Wilson said, "I want you to think about that scene in Jaws where Roy Schneider’s on the back of the boat throwing chum in the water. That would be me. I want DeSantis and Trump to fight and fight and fight. And fight and fight."
He added, "Now, I want that because I know. And a lot of my former conservative friends are like, well, you’re just, oh, why don’t you love DeSantis? DeSantis is a guy who is terrible at this work."
READ MORE: George Conway, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson burn Trump and the GOP to the ground in scathing joint op-ed
Wilson went on to explain why DeSantis and other Republican presidential candidates will likely be fighting an uphill battle.
"Trump still has a stranglehold over the Republican Party," Wilson noted. "I have to plan for the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that Donald Trump will be the nominee in the Republican Party once again. There is very there are very few paths to get a Ron DeSantis or any other of these jokers in the field over the finish line in the primary."
"I mean, Trump has to be dead or in jail," he added. "And even in those cases, he still might win the primaries."
Watch the video at this link.
READ MORE: 'They need to be burned to the ground politically': Rick Wilson issues expletive-laced warning about No Labels
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