We're all by now familiar with the scandals in Tennessee and Montana, where Republican-controlled legislatures sought to expel or otherwise silence Democratic colleagues for the crimes of having opinions while Black and trans (respectively). Now there's news of another proposed expulsion coming from a red state -- but in a shocking twist, Republicans are experimenting with using it to address actual misconduct!
A House committee has recommended the expulsion of Republican state Rep. Bryan Slaton after finding he had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with an aide, then acted to thwart an investigation into the matter.
A scathing report by the House General Investigating Committee, distributed to House shortly after noon Saturday, found Slaton did not dispute allegations that he had sex with the 19-year-old woman and provided alcohol to her, nor did he express regret or remorse for his conduct. Instead, the report said, Slaton’s lawyer argued the complaints should be dismissed because the behavior occurred in Slaton’s Austin residence, not the workplace.
That summary barely scratches the surface -- the report strongly suggests that Rep. Slaton raped his aide (the aide was reportedly sufficiently intoxicated that she "could not effectively consent to intercourse and could not indicate whether [Slaton’s conduct] was welcome or unwelcome" -- the word for that is rape) and then threatened her (showing her a message reading "nothing would happen as long as her and her friends keep quiet").
Rep. Slaton entered office after ousting a more moderate Republican with backing from a pair of far-right petro billionaires. And what was his signature issue? You'll absolutely guess:
Last year, he called for a blanket ban on minors at drag shows, saying it was necessary to protect children from “perverted adults.”
Anyway, kudos to Texas Republicans for considering using expulsion as a tool to punish actual misconduct as opposed to as a political stunt to disenfranchise minorities.