Gov. Greg Abbott taps longtime aide Angela Colmenero as interim attorney general

Angela Colmenero has been named interim attorney general for Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott. She replaces John Scott, who served as first interim attorney general after Ken Paxton was suspended pending his Senate impeachment trial. Credit: Social media

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that a longtime aide, Angela Colmenero, will serve as the second interim attorney general following Ken Paxton’s impeachment.

After the House voted to impeach Paxton in May, he was immediately suspended from office, and Abbott later picked Fort Worth attorney John Scott, the former Texas secretary of state, to be interim attorney general. But Abbott said Monday that Scott is departing and Colmenero will replace him, effective Friday.

“John Scott faithfully executed his duties as the interim Attorney General of Texas, and I thank him for his leadership in stepping up to serve his fellow Texans in this role,” Abbott said in a statement.

The announcement was something of a surprise, although Abbott seemed to hint at Scott’s brief tenure when he announced his appointment on May 31, calling Scott the “short-term interim attorney general.” In a statement, Scott said his agreement to take on the job “was always with an understanding that my duration would be limited in time.”

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Colmenero has been serving as Abbott’s deputy chief of staff, a position Abbott promoted her to less than a month ago. She previously was principal deputy general counsel in the governor’s office. She also worked for Abbott when he was attorney general himself, including as chief of the General Litigation Division.

“Angela’s record of experience in state government and expertise in litigation will help her oversee the Texas Attorney General’s Office and serve as our state’s top law enforcement officer as the Texas Senate conducts impeachment proceedings,” Abbott said.

Colmenero’s appointment continues a trend of Abbott selecting people close to him for some of his most consequential personnel decisions in his time as governor. For example, he tapped Scott to be secretary of state in 2021 after the state Senate declined to confirm the previous secretary of state. Scott also worked for Abbott when he was attorney general.

In impeaching Paxton, the House accused him of a yearslong pattern of misconduct and lawbreaking. The Senate has scheduled a trial to begin Sept. 5 on whether to permanently remove him from office.

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Scott was working as a lobbyist before Abbott selected him to be the first interim attorney general. Scott said Monday he will “return to working as a consultant, attorney and board member for a broad variety of companies.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.