The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has been sued by the Securities Exchange Commission for securities fraud. See San Antonio Express News report. That is a big deal simply because this is a civil matter, not criminal. The SEC only has to show by a preponderance of the evidence that General Paxton broke the law. In criminal court, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. We can think of that standard requiring 99% probability that the accused person is guilty. Preponderance is more like 50.1%.

The SEC cannot ask for imprisonment, but they will ask for hefty fines. According to the news report, Mr. Paxton was paid 100,000 shares in an energy company. Another person involved in the scenario, Caleb White, plead guilty and had to return $66,000 and 20,000 shares of the same company, Servergy. One lawyer who follows the SEC says the SEC generally files only when it is sure of its evidence.

One can expect that the AG is not so certain of his evidence.