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Texas attorney general continued paying high-level staffers after they resigned

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The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton is formally defending his decision to continue paying two high-level staffers after they resigned, saying Paxton “acted in a compassionate, legal, and ethical manner.”

In an op-ed submitted Tuesday to a number of media outlets, the agency’s Director of Human Resources John Poole said recent reports about the situation may have conflated two types of leave employees can be granted under state law, creating the wrong perception about the appropriateness of the decision. The employees in question are Chip Roy, former first assistant attorney general, and Allison Castle, former communications director.

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“Attorney General Paxton acted in a compassionate, legal, and ethical manner when he granted paid leave to two staffers who had worked tirelessly for the State of Texas,” Poole wrote. “I stand by his decision.”

Poole’s op-ed came in response to a number of reports, first in The Dallas Morning News, about how Paxton’s office was paying thousands of dollars in salaries and benefits to Castle and Roy more than a month after they stepped down. Roy, who now works for a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, later clarified that he was using an “option for leave beyond my earned vacation and holiday time,” primarily to cover any health care costs associated with his recovery from cancer.

Paxton decided to grant Castle and Roy 64 days of paid leave upon their resignations in early March, Poole said. Paxton did so under a part of state law that allows paid leave to an employee for “good cause.”

While Castle and Roy used the term “administrative leave” in their resignation letters, they were not referring to a part of state law that deals with administrative leave, Poole said. Under state law, employees like Castle and Roy can receive up to 32 hours of administrative leave per year.

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“Mr. Roy and Ms. Castle’s casual use of the term ‘administrative leave’ seems to have misled individuals into thinking that they received leave pursuant to this completely different section of the Government Code,” Poole wrote. “But that is not true.”

By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Ukrainian journalist throws down gauntlet after Giuliani smear: ‘I express my readiness to testify’

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A Ukrainian journalist said on Sunday that he would be willing to testify to Congress against President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

After Giuliani unleashed a bizarre rant on CNN accusing Democrats of trying to get help from Ukraine in the 2016 election, Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Leshchenko wrote an op-ed exposing the accusation as a lie.

In his op-ed, Leshchenko explains:

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the Manafort revelations would become fodder for the U.S. elections in 2020. President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mouthpiece of this campaign, is not only attempting to rehabilitate Manafort but is also working to undermine U.S. relations with Ukraine, which has been confronting Russian aggression on its own for more than five years. Giuliani and his associates are trying to drag our newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into a conflict between two foreign political parties, drastically limiting Ukraine’s room for maneuver in respect to the United States, perhaps its most important international partner.

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Trump is openly colluding with Ukraine to smear Biden

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President Donald Trump is defending his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, one that recent media reports suggest may have been made in order to dig up dirt about one of Trump's likeliest and strongest opponents in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!"

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Democrats’ refusal to impeach Trump is a ‘bigger national scandal’ than him breaking the law: Ocasio-Cortez

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized House Democrats on Saturday for their unwillingness to impeach President Donald Trump despite new revelations that he may have pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his potential Democratic rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior - it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday night.

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