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North Texas Republican lawmaker hires attorney ahead of possible ethics investigation

Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, speaks to Republican activists from a podium outside the Texas Capitol on January 12, 2023.
Sergio Martínez-Beltrán
/
KUT
Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, speaks to Republican activists from a podium outside the Texas Capitol on Jan. 12.

Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, has retained an attorney after missing a key vote on the state’s spending plan last week amid unconfirmed rumors circulating the Texas Capitol.

In a statement issued Monday, Patrick Short, a criminal defense attorney representing Slaton, said he was hired by the Republican “in a matter relating to a possible complaint filed against him with the Texas House Ethics Committee.”

“We are aware of outrageous allegations circulating online by second-tier media that make false claims against Representative Slaton,” Short said.

According to the Texas Tribune, an employee of the Texas Legislature filed a complaint accusing Slaton of an inappropriate relationship with an intern.

The Texas Tribune obtained the complaint on Monday.

"Slaton allegedly called the intern after 10 p.m. on March 31 inviting her to his Austin condo, the complaint said," the outlet reported.

An unidentified source told The Texas Tribune the intern was under 21 and Slaton drank alcohol with them.

Slaton missed the key vote Thursday despite filing nearly 30 amendments to add to the state’s budget.

Slaton’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to The Texas Newsroom’s questions.

On Monday, the office of Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, the chair of the House General Investigating Committee, which would investigate any claims, declined to comment on a potential investigation into Slaton. His office referred The Texas Newsroom to a statement Murr posted on Facebook last week.

“To preserve the confidential nature of its proceedings, the General Investigating Committee does not comment on any investigations it undertakes, including statements confirming or denying the existence of any ongoing investigation,” Murr wrote.

Slaton is one of the House’s most conservative members. He has filed legislation that targets people in the LGBTQ community, and in 2021, he filed a bill that would have allowed women to receive the death penalty if they had an abortion.

This is a developing story.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the Texas Capitol Reporter for The Texas Newsroom. Got a tip? Email him at smb@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel.
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