When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton decided to break his silence about accusations by his top aides that he had committed crimes including bribery and abuse of office, he turned to a little-known legal outlet called the Southeast Texas Record.
In the exclusive interview, he trashed the aides and claimed that before his top deputy resigned, Paxton had planned to put him on leave anyway.
The website where that interview was posted has been identified as part of a national network of some 1,300 pay-for-play news websites that publish on-demand coverage for Republican political campaigns and public relations firms. According to The New York Times, those websites, whose names sound like ordinary local news outlets, have received at least $1.7 million from Republican political campaigns and conservative groups.
Ian Prior, who promoted the story for the Paxton campaign, denied to The Texas Tribune that the campaign had paid the outlet