AUSTIN, Texas—Eight high-ranking employees of the Texas attorney general’s office reached out to law-enforcement authorities in September with a bold accusation, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month. They claimed that their boss, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, had illegally used his office to interfere with an FBI investigation into a campaign donor.
In the weeks after the employees notified the attorney general’s office of their claims, all eight were fired or resigned, and some faced retaliation from Mr. Paxton, according to the lawsuit, which was brought by four of the fired employees and alleges violation of whistleblower protections. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun questioning people about Mr. Paxton, said people familiar with the matter, but the full scope of its investigation isn’t known. Mr. Paxton has said he did nothing wrong.
An FBI spokesman didn’t return a message seeking information on the scope of the agency’s investigation.
The allegations have sent shock waves through the top ranks of the Texas Republican Party and raised questions about the future of cases the attorney general’s office is handling, including an investigation Texas is leading with a coalition of state attorneys general of Alphabet Inc.’s Google’s advertising business, in cooperation with the U.S. Justice Department. The lawyer who had been in charge of the case, Darren McCarty, was one of the employees who came forward and resigned in late October.
Google’s advertising technology business, which controls tools used to buy and sell ads across the web, has been called a monopoly. Google declined to comment but has previously said its products help expand choices for consumers and businesses.