In a recently revealed development, suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, accompanied by other attorneys general, embarked on a 10-day trip to China in late 2019, sparking concerns over potential Chinese Communist Party influence. According to sources and internal documents obtained by Fox News Digital, the trip was arranged by the Attorney General Alliance (AGA) and Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), raising questions about its purpose and implications.
The secretive journey took place between October 30 and November 8, 2019, with stops in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Macau, as per the reviewed trip itinerary. However, Paxton’s decision to participate in the trip against the advice of his staff, who raised concerns about government influence and surveillance, has drawn criticism.
The documents obtained indicate that AGA and CWAG organized luxurious accommodations and travel arrangements for Paxton and the other attorneys general. Participants, including both Republicans like Paxton and Democrats such as then-Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors, engaged in meetings with Chinese government officials and private sector representatives.
While some attendees reported the trip in accordance with disclosure laws in their respective states, Paxton was not required to do so. This lack of transparency has raised further questions about the motives and potential consequences of the trip.
Critics argue that the visit posed unnecessary risks, with one individual with knowledge of the trip stating, “Under no set of circumstances as a U.S. law enforcement official should you willingly go to China.” Concerns were also raised about potential government influence and surveillance, given the Chinese Communist Party’s extensive control over various aspects of society.
The Attorney General Alliance defended the trip, stating that it focused on matters such as consumer protection, organized crime, and cybercrime, which are essential priorities both in the United States and internationally. AGA Deputy Director and General Counsel Tania Maestas emphasized the importance of fostering bilateral relationships and protecting U.S. consumers.
During the trip, the attorneys general participated in various activities, including meetings with Chinese federal court officials, tours of technology giant Microsoft’s offices, visits to Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, and interactions with local officials and law firm representatives in Shanghai. The final leg of the journey was dedicated to leisure activities in Macau.
However, the AGA has faced previous criticism for allegedly providing access to special interests. The organization has been accused of accepting lobbyist and corporate money, raising concerns about the impartiality and integrity of the attorneys general involved.
Ken Paxton’s trip to China has further complicated his already turbulent political career. Facing 20 charges alleging abuse of power, obstruction of justice, bribery, and abuse of public trust, Paxton was impeached by the Texas House in May. His suspension from office will remain in effect until the conclusion of the Texas Senate impeachment trial in August.
As the controversy surrounding the China trip unfolds, many are questioning the judgment and motives of Ken Paxton and the participating attorneys general, highlighting the need for greater transparency and accountability within the legal and law enforcement spheres.