Texas attorney general job description
3 mins read

Texas attorney general job description

“The attorney general has a lot of responsibilities that we don’t see every day but that always touch a person’s life,” a political scientist professor said.

TEXAS, USA — What does it mean to be Texas’ attorney general?

It’s an office most of us don’t think about very often, if ever, but one legislative expert says impacts every Texan’s life.

Ken Paxton is the state’s attorney general, making him the state’s top lawyer.

University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said actions taken by Paxton and his team of nearly 750 attorneys reach every level of society.

“The attorney general has a lot of responsibilities that we don’t see every day but that always touch a person’s life,” Rottinghaus said.

The roles of Texas’ attorney general

The attorney general‘s office enforces open government laws. The office also collects, distributes and enforces child support payments.

Another focus — investigating Medicaid and consumer fraud.

“If you’ve got gas prices that are too high outside the market value, then that’s something that you see the attorney general’s office engaging in,” Rottinghaus said. “Diploma mills is another example. If you feel like you’ve been defrauded by a for-profit institution, then this is another example of a case the attorney general’s office might take.”

Paxton’s office forced 48 gas stations to accuse of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey to refund customers. Paxton has also gone after opioid makers and human traffickers in Texas.

Earlier in May, he even announced an investigation into Texas Children’s Hospital over gender-affirming care.

Another major role for the attorney general is representing the State of Texas when suing or being sued by other states or the federal government.

Paxton has taken legal action over DACA, the Affordable Care Act, the 2020 election results and environmental rules.

“Sometimes you see states pushing back, and Texas is often at the forefront of that,” Rottinghaus said.

Texas lawmakers have brought 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton, ranging from bribery to abuse of public trust.

Rottinghaus believes all Texans should be watching what happens with this impeachment vote.

“The biggest reason people should care is it’s about accountability,” he said. “There is the impeachment process built into the separation of powers because if you have one agent in government who’s doing something problematic, either criminal or unethical, then the other branches are supposed to check that. This is the core foundation of how the separation of powers works.”

Texas voters choose the attorney general every four years, most recently in 2022.

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