A new television ad from Club for Growth Action accuses one state lawmaker of riding the “gravy train” after it was revealed that he worked as a paid consultant for a lobbying firm.

A 2022 personal financial statement, first reported by the Dallas Express, shows that State Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R–New Boston) was employed by Powell Law Group from 2020-2022. 

According to the firm’s website, the group offers “turnkey public policy and governmental affairs programs for school district leaders and businesses in the education space who want to influence local and state legislative and regulatory matters.”

While VanDeaver claimed the Powell Group “is not a lobby firm,” the group’s website states that their government relations services include lobbying. 

Records reveal the firm has lobby clients, including the Texas Association of Rural Schools, the Association of Texas Professional Educators, and the Texas Rural Broadband Commission.

Club for Growth’s ad connects that report with VanDeaver’s support for taxpayer-funded lobbying as well as his opposition to school choice:

Here’s the scheme: Austin lobbyists give Gary VanDeaver a cushy side gig as a consultant. VanDeaver votes to let local bureaucrats hire Austin lobbyists with taxpayer funds, lobbying VanDeaver to do the bureaucrats’ bidding and block education freedom. 

VanDeaver blocks the bill, lobbyists stuff his pockets, and the gravy train rolls on for everyone but you until we stop it in its tracks and get VanDeaver off.

VanDeaver did not respond to a request for comment on the ad’s allegations. 

Club for Growth Action has been exceedingly active in Texas this election cycle. Their affiliated School Freedom Fund spent nearly $4 million during the primaries and is on track to spend another $4 million ahead of the runoff elections.

VanDeaver is facing a primary runoff election on May 28 against Chris Spencer.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens