Caught on Tape: Intoxicated Legislator Restrained by DPS and Staff

A new video presents a question for voters in Humble and Kingwood: How much dishonor can your representative bring to his office and be reelected? Already drunk and disorderly, Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Houston) is shown just minutes after coming off the House floor trying to attack a reporter.

On the video, released by the American Phoenix Foundation (“APF”), Huberty drunkenly curses an APF reporter, calling him a “f*****g hack,” an “a*****e” and other derogatory names. At the conclusion of the video, while shouting expletives, Huberty fights against his own staff and three DPS officers in an attempt to physically accost the reporter. His staff are forced to repeatedly admonish the representative that, “it’s not worth it” as he is dragged back to his office.

Despite knowledge that this exchange took place and that it was likely videotaped, Huberty has declared his intent to seek reelection as state representative. Huberty has yet to draw an announced challenger.

The video shows the APF reporter commenting on Huberty’s level of intoxication and noting that Huberty is slurring his speech. Huberty defends his actions, noting that he is an “adult,” and that he “can have a drink at night,” and claims the House adjourned two hours before the video was taken. The reporter responds, noting that the House actually adjourned only minutes earlier, that Huberty appeared “pretty buzzed,” and that the smell of alcohol on Huberty was “pretty strong.”

Huberty’s response: “What a shame. Really?”

According to the American Phoenix Foundation, the video was taken on May 29, 2015 around 6:58pm. The House journal notes that the House adjourned at 6:27pm that day.

Just two days prior to the videotaped exchange, Huberty voted for the House committee substitute to Senate Bill 19, a bill that would have made it illegal for citizens to videotape or record conversations with legislators in the capitol without their consent.

The legislation, which was blatantly unconstitutional – as Gov. Greg Abbott noted after the Session – would have enabled legislators to sue citizens, acquire a prior restraint against circulation of the recording, and acquire a $10,000 statutory award from the citizen as a penalty for the unauthorized recording.

The APF reporter asked Huberty twice on the video whether it is appropriate for legislators to date their staff or lobbyists and Huberty agreed that it was “absolutely” inappropriate.

These questions about relationships between legislators, staff, and lobbyists come in the context of persistent but unverified rumors around the Texas Capitol that Huberty has engaged in extramarital affairs. It is unknown if the American Phoenix Foundation has captured any video that would confirm the truth of any of the rumors. However, sources in District 127 have confirmed that Huberty has been attempting to prepare supporters and other community leaders that video may be released that shows him engaged in inappropriate activities.

On the video, Huberty bizarrely and repeatedly asks the APF reporter if he “would like to speak with [Huberty’s] wife.”

Scandals don’t always result in electoral defeat. In places like Chicago and Louisiana, there have been many politicians who have been exposed for professional and personal corruption yet they have been reelected.

Now the question is presented to the voters in House District 127: Dan Huberty has embarrassed himself and brought dishonor to his office. Will his voters now allow his dishonor to be reflected on them?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel for Empower Texans. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony received his J.D. in 2012 from UT Law School. While in school, Tony served as Senior Vice Chairman for Young Conservatives of Texas and helped manage its legislative affairs. During the 83rd Texas Legislature he served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Jonathan Stickland. Tony resides in Austin and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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