Texas AG Ken Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, left for Utah last week as Texas froze, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Paxton is one of several Texas public officials to have left in the middle of the crisis.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, jetted off to Utah last week for work meetings as Texas dealt with extreme winter weather and massive power outages, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Paxtons left for Utah last Wednesday, the same day that US Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his family traveled to Cancun, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Paxton’s campaign spokesman Ian Prior told the Dallas Morning News that the attorney general traveled to meet with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and Friday.
According to Prior, the two Republicans discussed an antitrust lawsuit Texas, Utah, and others are taking up against Google, with Paxton also attending a police training program presentation. Prior did not share with the Morning News whether the trip was paid for using state money or out of pocket.
“I cannot further share additional details or the specific reasons on the need for the meeting concerning Google as it involves an ongoing investigation,” Prior told the Morning News.
A spokesperson for state Sen. Angela Paxton told the Morning News that she “joined AG Paxton on a previously planned trip to Utah which included meetings that benefit her efforts to promote human dignity and support law enforcement.” Representatives for the couple have asserted that the trip was for work purposes.
On Wednesday evening, the first day that AG Paxton reportedly met with Reyes, Paxton criticized the state’s power grid operator and power companies on Twitter – pledging to investigate Electric Reliability Council of Texas – also sharing a number Texans could call to report price gouging.
Paxton tweeted, “They have left 3+ million homes w/o power for days, including my own,” Paxton tweeted on Wednesday evening. “What do they do in response? Jack up prices, go silent, make excuses, & play the blame game. It’s unacceptable!”
On Thursday, while the pair were in Utah, Angela Paxton tweeted a call for Texans to stay home.
“The roads still remain hazardous. Please stay home, if you are able, and exercise extreme caution if you must drive,” she tweeted.
The attorney general’s office is responsible for responding to reports of price gouging, which particularly applied to bottled water and hotel rooms as millions of Texans lost heat and water.
Paxton spokesman Prior confirmed that the Paxtons lost power at their residence but did not leave the state, “until after power had returned to most of the state, including his own home.”
Paxton’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
By Wednesday morning, ERCOT reported that at least 2.7 million households in Texas did not have power. And by that evening, almost 12 million Texans were experiencing issues with their water service due to the aftermath of the storm and outages.
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