Update: After an investigation, Texas DPS and the Travis County DA released a statement on Thursday saying there was “not enough evidence to support these allegations and that criminal charges are not appropriate” and that “no crime occurred in this instance.”

On Saturday, news broke that a Texas legislative staffer alleged a Texas-based lobbyist had used a “date-rape” drug on her during a recent meeting.

Now sources have told Texas Scorecard that the alleged perpetrator is Richard Dennis, a taxpayer-funded lobbyist for HillCo Partners, one of the largest lobbying firms in the state. Some of his clients have included the Denton County Transportation Authority, the Blinn College Foundation, and the City of Houston, who ended their contract with HillCo in 2019.

Rick Dennis was a previous legislative staffer himself, having previously worked for State Rep. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) for almost a decade. Capitol Inside has him ranked as 69 in their Texas Lobby Power Rankings for 2021.

Since it became public on Saturday, several legislators have publicly denounced the news on social media. Several have confirmed that they will be wearing the color pink on Tuesday in the Texas Legislature as a show of support for the female legislative staffer.

In a statement released Sunday, HillCo Partners declined to release the name of the alleged perpetrator, but said: “The reported incident is abhorrent and, once investigated and found to be accurate, should be dealt with in the strongest legal manner possible.”

“If facts come to light that anyone associated with HillCo Partners had any involvement with such conduct, that person will be immediately terminated,” they added.

Details are still forthcoming, and the story will be updated as it develops.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.


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