Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi says the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has paid a company House Speaker Dade Phelan manages three times the market value.

On February 16, 2023, an exclusive Texas Scorecard investigative report examined a lease between HHSC and 3105 Executive, LLC—a company Phelan and members of the Phelan family manage and direct. From December 2017 to December 2023, state taxpayers paid this company $2.3 million through HHSC. The original lease ran from January 2014 to December 2023 but has been extended to August 2029. Phelan was first elected to the Texas House in 2014 and began serving in 2015. He was elected Speaker by fellow House members in 2021.

On February 17, Rinaldi took to social media platform X, noting that the 2023 rent HHSC paid Phelan is three times the market value.

“This looks like a $268,000 windfall to the Speaker’s business paid for money appropriated by the House, which is a big deal,” he wrote. “My next question would be how many other income streams are there like this one?”

In the original investigative report, Tony McDonald, an attorney familiar with state ethics laws, commented on the original findings. “Lawmakers, especially the Speaker of the House, have immense control and influence over the State budget, including agency budgets like HHSC,” he stated. “Phelan’s control over the budget for HHSC, while he is charging them millions in rent, appears to present a serious conflict of interest.”

Speaker Phelan’s office and his reelection campaign declined a request for comment on Rinaldi’s comments.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.