Two whistleblowers at the Texas Attorney General’s Office were fired on Tuesday after they reported their boss to law enforcement.
A former senior official with the agency who had knowledge of the firing, but chose to remain anonymous for fear of legal repercussions, told the Texas Tribune that the two whistleblowers were fired after reporting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to law enforcement for crimes including bribery and abuse of office.
Lacy Mase, the deputy attorney general for administration, was the first to be fired. Blake Brickman, who served for less than a year as deputy attorney general for policy and strategy initiatives, was also fired.
“It was not voluntary,” Mase said about her departure from the office. She declined to comment further, as did Brickman.
Though Brickman and Mase are the only two to have been fired as of yet, it has been reported that a total of seven top aides from Paxton’s office had alerted law enforcement weeks ago, stating that they believed their boss had broken the law.
The Tribune has since obtained internal emails from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, in which multiple aides “accused Paxton of using the power of his office to serve the financial interests of a donor, Nate Paul.”
Jeff Mateer, the most senior aide to Paxton, resigned weeks ago, while two other aides were placed on leave by Paxton. The office has yet to answer any questions about the employment status of other whistleblowers, or what reason was used to fire Mase and Brickman.
According to employment attorneys, Paxton may be walking directly into a lawsuit for violating the Texas Whistleblower Act by firing the employees who alleged that he had broken the law. The Act protects state employees from retaliation after accusing their superiors of crimes.
“This situation looks like what the Texas Whistleblower Act was designed to prevent. And the timing looks bad,” North Texas Employment Attorney Jason Smith told The Texas Tribune.
Paxton has referred to the whistleblowers as “rogue employees,” and has denied the allegations against him.