Rep. VanDeaver Tied to Taxpayer Funded Lobbying

Rep. Gary VanDeaver | Image by Rep. Gary VanDeaver/Facebook

Rep. Gary VanDeaver appears to have taken campaign donations from lobbyist groups representing government entities while voting against a bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying.

VanDeaver (R-New Boston) joined the majority in voting against SB 29 in 2019 to kill a plan to ban lobbying by taxpayer-funded groups. This came after he took $3,250 in campaign donations from two lobbyist groups that represent taxpayer-funded clients: HillCo Partners and Focused Advocacy. The two organizations also donated $8,250 to his campaign between 2020 and 2024.

VanDeaver did not respond to a request for comment.

HillCo was founded in 1998 and bills itself as having a “reputation as the premier government affairs consulting firm, providing unparalleled advocacy.” The two founders, Neal Jones and William Miller, represent an extensive list of government entities, with payments typically ranging from $40,000 to $200,000. These taxpayer-funded clients include the ​​Dallas Police & Fire Pension System, Arlington ISD, and the Cities of Arlington, Pasadena, Abilene, Cedar Park, Frisco, and Beaumont.

Four additional lobbyists for HillCo Partners represent taxpayer-funded clients. The group’s PAC has donated $7,500 to VanDeaver since 2014, according to campaign records.

Focused Advocacy touts itself as setting “best practices for local government and utility-related advocacy at the Texas Capitol.” The group’s lobbyists represent dozens of Texas cities and other taxpayer-funded entities, with payments typically ranging from $40,000 to $100,000. 

The Focused Advocacy PAC has donated $4,000 to VanDeaver since 2014, according to campaign records.

VanDeaver worked as a paid consultant for a lobbying firm called Powell Law Group from 2020 to 2022, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The firm lobbies in favor of public schools and represents clients who oppose private school vouchers in Texas — a policy VanDeaver voted against in a bill last year. He sat on an education committee as he worked as a paid consultant for the group. 

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