Dean McWilliams is one of the top three paid lobbyists in the State of Texas, making over $7 million in lobby contracts every two years. His wife, Andrea McWilliams, receives just over $8 million in lobby contracts. Dean McWilliams receives both private and taxpayer-funded lobby contracts.

The highest of those contracts? An agreement with the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, where he receives between $200,000 and $300,000.

McWilliams also holds taxpayer-funded contracts from city governments and colleges and universities reaching up to $200,000 each, including the City of Texarkana at $50,000-$100,000. The colleges include Alamo Colleges Foundation Inc., Austin Community College Foundation, Collin County Community College District Foundation Inc., Dallas Community College District Foundation Inc., and the South Texas College Education Foundation.

McWilliams’ most recent controversial client came to light last summer.

On May 13, 2020, Phil Wilson, the acting Health and Human Services Commissioner, signed a multimillion-dollar deal with MTX Group, a tech company, to bring contact tracing to Texas. Dean and Andrea McWilliams are listed as lobbyists for the group, being hired for $50,000 each.

In August, five Texas Republican lawmakers took Phil Wilson, Gov. Greg Abbott, the State of Texas, and MTX Group to court, in part, for failing to follow contract bidding laws and including the state Legislature in the process.

Earlier in 2020, MTX launched an app for government agencies that was dedicated to monitoring and tracking people coming and going on flights. The app was also designed for public school districts in the U.S. to monitor at-risk individuals and meeting quarantine guidelines.

This contract, Texas’ first with MTX Group, specializes in messaging and artificial intelligence to help respond to emergencies, with the contract being paid for through funding provided by the Federal Emergency Relief.

The Contact Tracing Program has been criticized for its inefficiency and its overstepping adoption of a state policy without the state Legislature’s involvement, as well as the potential violation of HIPAA requirements, privacy, and civil liberties for there to be access to individuals’ potential COVID-19 contact.

McWilliams has served as Texas co-chair with his wife for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee during the 2007-08 presidential cycle and contributed to him in 2007 and 2015. McWilliams has personally contributed to both Democrats and Republicans—most notably, Marc Veasey, Henry Cueller, John Cornyn, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz.

More information on McWilliams’ clients can be found at Transparency USA.

This article is part of a series of profiles on Texas’ highest-paid lobbyists by Texas Scorecard.

Iris Poole

Iris Poole is a 2021 Texas Scorecard Fellow from Round Rock. She is freedom-loving and had an early interest in liberty and politics.