Federal law enforcement officials served a subpoena this week on the office of the Texas attorney general, according to an Austin newspaper.
The FBI, according to a report Thursday in the Austin American Statesman, came Wednesday to the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton in an investigation over claims that Mr. Paxton abused his office by helping a friend and campaign donor.
The paper cited “three sources” as saying the request for information was delivered on Mr. Paxton’s office, though they did not know what the FBI sought or got.
“The issuance of a federal subpoena on a state agency, and especially involving the state’s top attorney, is a highly unusual move that likely would have required higher level approval from the U.S. Department of Justice,” the American Statesman wrote.
Earlier this week, Mr. Paxton initiated what likely will be President Trump’s last chance to reverse the apparent victory of Democrat Joseph R. Biden in the presidential election — a lawsuit filed directly with the Supreme Court accusing four swing states of having “tainted” the election by changing their election laws in an unconstitutional manner.
Legal analysts consider the lawsuit a long shot.
The federal case centers on claims by former top Paxton aides that the attorney general used his power to aid Austin investor Nate Paul after an FBI raid on the financier’s offices.
The ex-officials sent a letter to the Texas attorney general in October saying they had solicited a federal investigation after Mr. Paxton hired an outside attorney to probe Mr. Paul’s claims that the feds had violated his constitutional rights during the raid. Their letter said Mr. Paxton acted against their recommendation and after they already had investigated Mr. Paul’s claims and dismissed them.
The letter said they had asked the FBI to investigate such potential crimes as improper influence, abuse of office and bribery.
Mr. Paxton’s office had no comment Thursday to the American Statesman but has denied wrongdoing, claiming he is a “fierce investigator and defender of individual rights in the face of potentially unreasonable and authoritarian actions.”