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Impeachments in the Texas Legislature are rare, but they have happened

Only twice since the adoption of the Texas Constitution of 1876 have state legislators impeached and removed a public official from elected office.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's Note: A previous version of this story mistakenly used a picture of former Texas Rep. Oscar Carrillo, instead of his brother Judge O.P. Carrillo. Rep. Oscar Carrillo served in the Texas House from 1967 to 1973 and was not, in fact, impeached. 

The Texas legislative session of 1975 was known for its fireworks, not just about lawmaking, but about District Judge O.P. Carrillo from Duval County in South Texas.

Carrillo was impeached on charges that he evaded paying federal income taxes, used county equipment and personnel for his personal benefit and more. Lawmakers voted to kick him out of office in early 1976.

The Texas governor faced impeachment 59 years earlier.

Gov. James Ferguson picked a fight with the University of Texas. He demanded that six professors who supported his opponent during his reelection campaign be fired. When they weren't fired, he cut UT’s funding. It was the beginning of the end for Ferguson’s governorship.

And there was the chicken salad matter.

Even though a court had ruled that the State should not have to pay for the governor's groceries, Ferguson kept sending the bills for his food to the state.

For example, the governor billed the Texas Treasury for chicken salad and punch – over $4,000 worth in today's dollars. A bill from the Driskill Hotel in Austin that itemized the expenses was presented as evidence during Ferguson’s 1917 impeachment trial in the Texas Senate.

Lawmakers found Ferguson guilty on five charges related to a mishandling of public funds and abuse of power. He resigned before he could be removed from office and hoped to run for governor again. He did run, but he lost.

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