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The relationship between Texas House Parliamentarian Hugh Brady and a law firm retained by Texas municipalities has come under scrutiny. This comes after procedural decisions in the House led to the defeat of bills seeking to limit these municipalities' ability to take on debt without voter approval.
Brady, a University of Texas law professor and current Texas House Parliamentarian, is responsible for interpreting the rules and procedures of the legislature and advising presiding officers. Before serving as the Parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives, he was a founder and principal shareholder of Brady & Peavey P.C.
Representative Mayes Middleton spotlighted the hiring of Brady & Peavey by Harris County in a tweet, asserting that the firm was likely involved in "efforts to kill conservative bills in the legislature through procedural points of order on the House floor." His tweet also revealed that he and Senator Paul Bettencourt had formally requested all information pertaining to Harris County's engagement with the law firm.
According to City Council meeting minutes and ethics report filings, Brady & Peavy was also hired by the City of Austin as part of their lobbying efforts to influence legislative outcomes. The total contract for services with Brady & Peavy and several other lobbying firms was $705,000.
Following news that Harris County had hired Brady and Peavey, Bonnie Bruce, a longtime Texas political and legislative operative, provided context for the hire on Twitter, “the Brady in Brady & Peavey is Hugh Brady, the House Parliamentarian” and Brady & Peavey was “the law firm he created and left to become Parliamentarian” and where he will “presumably go back to since it still bears his name.”
“Ross Peavey does point of order work,” she continued.
The crux of the dispute lies with House Bill 3899. This bill intended to regulate local districts' ability to create corporations that could take on debt without voter approval - a financial strategy used to fund the extensive Project Connect initiative in Austin. However, this bill failed to advance following a successful point of order.
"Taxpayers need accountability for these shadowy legal efforts to defeat legislation," Middleton tweeted, expressing his concerns over the hiring of Brady & Peavey.
An Austin American-Statesman report noted that a procedural objection raised by Representative John Bucy, D-Austin, brought the fatal blow to HB3899. The decision to sustain the objection was ruled upon by Brady, and seen as a victory for Austin's Mayor Kirk Watson.
Proponents of HB3899, including its author Rep. Ellen Troxclair, R-Lakeway, claim the bill is necessary to close a loophole in the state's tax code. Following the halt to the bill's progress, Troxclair stated, "The opponents of this bill can't win on policy so they are using parliamentary tricks to try to stop taxpayers from having the accountability and transparency they deserve."
The inherent connection between the House Parliamentarian and the law firm he founded which specializes in “point of order work” has given rise to a question of conflict of interest and calls for greater transparency from lawmakers.
This is all about [them] protecting themselves from Paxtons investigations and securing the state for the 2024 Election
Texas Governor Greg Abbott–R will likely appoint a replacement attorney general that kills off Paxton’s lawsuits. Paxton has lawsuits against Biden, Big Tech, and Big Pharma, and won several lawsuits in recent past. Therefore, Paxton’s complete removal from office would only benefit left-leaning entities such as Facebook, Google, Pfizer, and Moderna.
Brady biography: Hugh Brady is one of the preeminent political law experts in Texas. He has provided trusted counsel on complicated legal issues to candidates, officeholder, and political committees across the political spectrum. His mastery of the legislative process and expertise in campaign finance law is unmatched by any other lawyer in Texas. "Without ever stepping on the House floor, Hugh Brady . . . had a larger impact on the 78th Legislature than many representatives did," reported the Texas Observer in 2003.
He is the Parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives, appointed by Speaker Bonnen in January 2019, and reappointed by Speaker Phelan in 2021. In this office, he serves as the chief legal adviser to the House on matters of constitutional and legislative procedure and privilege. From 2003-2017, he edited Texas House Practice, considered the authoritative text on the Texas House Rules, and Texas Senate Practice, a core material supplementing the Texas Senate Rules. Brady was appointed by President Obama to serve as general counsel for the White House Office of Administration and held that position from 2014-2017. As a senior White House lawyer, he handled a broad legal portfolio including the 2017 Presidential transition, government ethics & records laws, internal investigations, information law (including cybersecurity), security law (including industrial security), and government contracts & appropriations law.
Brady is a Commissioner on Uniform State Laws and is a member of the Texas delegation to the Uniform Law Commission. He is the immediate past chair, and was the primary organizer of, the Legislative and Campaign Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, which is the first section of its kind in the country. As a member of the Section's council, he led efforts to create the Certification in Legislative and Campaign Law at the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, the first specialty certification for lawyers in this practice field; he holds board certification in that specialty and sits on the TBLS exam commission. Brady is the editor of Legislative Lawyer, the Section's report published twice yearly. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
He is admitted to the practice of law in Texas and Vermont, and is a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas. Brady served as a member of the Education Committee of the Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law in Ottawa. In 2011, the UT Student Bar Association named him as one of two Faculty Members of the Year.
Brady was editor-in-chief of the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, worked for United States Circuit Judge Juan Torruella (who was appointed by President Reagan), and sat for and passed the Texas bar examination while still a third-year law student. Before becoming a lawyer, Brady worked as a reporter, political newsletter publisher, lobbyist, marketing firm executive, and legislative aide. The son of a preacher and a horsewoman, he was raised in Jack, Palo Pinto, and Dallas counties.