Texas House investigating committee issues four subpoenas, days after allegations against Bryan Slaton emerge
The committee would not say who was being issued the subpoenas or for what purpose.
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The Texas House Committee on General Investigating issued four subpoenas Friday, though it did not say to whom or for what purpose.
It was this legislative session’s first meeting of the committee, which investigates wrongdoing in government including potential misconduct by members, since its inaugural housekeeping meeting at the beginning of March.
Since then, two House members have faced ethics questions, both related to their treatment of staff.
The House Committee on General Investigating, along with its counterpart in the Senate, has the power to conduct inquiries into state agencies, departments and officials. The committees also have the ability to draft articles of impeachment against lawmakers.
This week, The Texas Tribune reported that a legislative staffer submitted a complaint to the investigative committee earlier this month alleging that Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, had a potentially inappropriate relationship with an intern.
The complaint said Slaton invited the intern to his Austin condo after 10 p.m. on March 31. A source with direct knowledge of the incident told the Tribune that Slaton drank alcohol with the woman, who was under 21.
Slaton has not addressed those allegations, but a criminal defense attorney he retained has criticized “outrageous claims circulating online” without specifying further.
Slaton and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday about the subpoenas.
Earlier this month, three employees of Rep. Jolanda Jones, D-Houston, resigned in late March, citing an “abusive and hostile” work environment.
In a letter, the trio said Jones assigned them work unrelated to state business, regularly required them to work outside of business hours and often threatened to fire employees. They also alleged that Jones had failed to intervene in what they said was an inappropriate relationship between an office intern and the lawmaker’s son.
The former employees also filed a complaint with the House investigative committee.
Jones said in a statement in March that working in the Legislature is stressful and difficult, and “some on my staff have decided this job is not for them.”
She also criticized her former employees for publishing the name of the intern, who was previously a victim of sexual assault. Jones added that the allegations against her son were false.
Jones’ spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the lawmaker had received a subpoena.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, has said his office would investigate the allegations involving Jones and Slaton.
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