Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation Friday into the Texas Bar Foundation, saying he’s heard complaints the lawyers’ group is funneling taxpayers’ money to organizations that encourage and fund illegal immigration.
Mr. Paxton asked the bar to turn over its charitable giving lists for the past 10 years, as well as any documents detailing how those decisions were made.
He said he’s received complaints from Rep. Troy E. Nehls, Texas Republican, and members of the public about the bar foundation‘s behavior.
“The Texas Bar Foundation is alleged to have knowingly given donations to entities that encourage, participate in, and fund illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border, and potentially using taxpayer dollars received from the State Bar of Texas, which appoints the Foundation‘s trustees,” Mr. Paxton said. “If true, this is likely an improper use of charitable funds because the funds are diverted from their intended — and potentially unlawful — purpose.”
Soon after he announced the probe, the attorney general also made public that he is being investigated by the bar association for his role in pursuing a legal case to challenge the Electoral College vote count that delivered victory to President Biden in 2020.
“I’ll see you and the leftists that control you in court,” Mr. Paxton tweeted.
He said he wouldn’t allow the bar association to “bully” him.
The foundation, in a statement, said it was Mr. Paxton who was abusing taxpayers’ money with the new probe.
“Had AG Paxton taken the time to come and speak with us rather than issue a press release, I am confident that he would have found no wrongdoing on the part of the foundation,” said Bar Foundation Chair-elect Alistair Dawson.
The foundation said it doesn’t get money from taxpayer funds, but rather from charitable donations.
Trey Apffel, the state bar’s executive director, also said his organization isn’t funded by taxpayers.
“While we are unsure what donations are at issue here, we are confident that the foundation‘s activities are in line with its mission of enhancing the rule of law and the system of justice in Texas,” Mr. Apffel said.
While it’s unclear what actions Mr. Paxton intends to scrutinize, the role of charities in helping facilitate migrants’ arrival and dispersion throughout the U.S. is well-documented.
The Biden administration is relying on nonprofit groups to receive catch-and-release migrants, conduct coronavirus testing, and house those that need to be isolated.
The groups are also helping the migrants with travel plans as they leave the border region and move deeper into the country.
Those organizations are expected to play an even bigger role in the coming weeks as the Biden administration hopes to end the Title 42 pandemic border shutdown and prepares for a potential tripling of already record levels of illegal immigration.
Part of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ plan to handle the surge is to send those organizations more federal money so they can reach more immigrants who are in the country illegally.