Shortly after American Oversight submitted the motion for default judgment, Attorney General Paxton’s office filed an answer to our lawsuit. That filing is available here.
American Oversight on Thursday filed a motion for default judgment against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in our lawsuit seeking the release of documents responsive to recent public records requests — including Paxton’s communications surrounding Jan. 6, 2021.
The motion comes after Paxton failed to file an answer to American Oversight’s lawsuit by the Aug. 1 deadline under Texas law, and asks the court to rule in American Oversight’s favor and to order Paxton to produce the requested records immediately.
In June, American Oversight sued the offices of Paxton and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to compel the release of documents responsive to seven recent public records requests. The suit followed several questionable responses to the requests by Abbott and Paxton, responses that asserted implausibly broad applications of exceptions to the Texas Public Information Act and produced few records.
Unlike with Paxton, an answer to American Oversight’s complaint was filed on behalf of Gov. Abbott in July.
“As the top law enforcement officer for the state of Texas, Ken Paxton should respect, not ignore, the law. Our lawsuit seeks records that belong to the people of Texas. Attorney General Paxton cannot simply refuse to answer our complaint in open defiance of Texas law,” said Heather Sawyer, executive director at American Oversight. “Attorney General Paxton’s refusal to respond to this lawsuit leaves us no choice but to ask the court to order the immediate release of these documents.”
The records sought by American Oversight include:
This lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort by American Oversight to preserve government transparency and accountability in Texas. The group is also conducting an investigation into the Texas secretary of state’s “forensic audit” into the 2020 election, and recently obtained records that revealed that Secretary of State John Scott met with election conspiracy theorist Patrick Byrne in December 2021. More information on American Oversight’s other investigations in Texas is available here.
Thursday’s motion filed in the Travis County District Court is available here.
Part of Investigation: