A tech CEO gave Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a "gift" of $100,000-worth of shares of stock in his company while Paxton was a state representative and he didn't report the gift, violating state law, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The Republican is currently facing federal fraud charges relating to the same company. He is accused of convincing, if not pressuring, five people to invest in the firm Servergy Inc. even though he himself was not an investor, and hiding the fact he was being paid a commission by the company.
Federal investigators believe the shares were handed over as "sales commission" for bringing in the new investors. If this was the case, Paxton would have been required to report them as “sources of occupational income,” the News reports.
Paxton said he did intend to invest in the company and pay for the shares, but then-CEO Bill Mapp insisted he take them for free, telling him, “God doesn’t want me to take your money," the News reports.
On Friday, the News revealed that Mapp gave Paxton the stock shares in 2011 while Paxton was serving as a state representative. While Paxton noted that he owned more than 10,000 shares in the firm, he did not include them in the "gift" section of his annual financial disclosure forms, which elected officials are required to complete.
Doing so would have forced him to reveal the name of the company.
State law requires that officials report all gifts that exceed $250, with the only exception being gifts from family members.
“Servergy recorded the stock issuance to Paxton as payment for ‘services.’ In multiple emails, Mapp and Paxton discussed payment in cash or stock as compensation for Paxton’s referrals that purchased Servergy’s securities,” the Security and Exchange Commission alleges in charges against the Texas top prosecutor, which were obtained by the News.
Along with federal charges, Paxton is facing state-level criminal indictments as well. He has denied wrongdoing.