An anonymous Twitter account that has been active for nearly three months disparaging Tennessee State House members and staff was outed Wednesday as an account secretly operated by State Representative Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg).
The big reveal came at the hands of fellow State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) via Twitter.
The anonymous account was operated under the Twitter handle of @CHBmole. The moniker implied that the author is an insider within the Cordell Hull Building – otherwise known as CHB – home of the Tennessee legislature since late 2017.
The @CHBmole account became active in February 2019, and seemed focused primarily on criticism of legislative staffers hired by Speaker Glen Casada.
However, one tweet appeared to leak that former State Representative Joe Carr had been appointed as a Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) prior to the announcement being made public. Along with the comment, “I could not think of a more qualified person,” and a “thinking” emoji was the hashtag “#favoroftheweek.”
Another tweet reported that Representative Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) was chosen by Governor Bill Lee to participate in his first State of the State Address.
This despite, as the “mole” pointed out, Curcio was apparently guilty of “bailing” on former House Speaker turned gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell by supporting Randy Boyd for governor during the 2018 Republican primary.
The “mole” went on to accuse Curcio of telling Representative Curtis Johnson he would support Johnson in the Republican caucus election for Speaker of the House, but Curcio actually went on to vote for Glen Casada.
As of May 6, the @CHBmole Twitter account appears to have been deactivated.
The deactivation seems to have coincided with an exchange between the “mole” and Michael Lotfi, an employee of the state legislature. The exchange implied that Lotfi was close to identifying the anonymous Twitter “mole.”
Aww man. I thought we were just getting to the good part, @chbmole! That’s okay though. Deactivating your account won’t erase the cache of hard evidence. IP Addresses (you were distracted), Meta, photos, device IDs, and so on. You’re not nearly as smart as you think. #AmateurHour pic.twitter.com/vToBWADDBp
— Michael Lotfi (@MichaelLotfi) May 6, 2019
Interestingly, the climax of resolving the anonymous Twitter account comes amidst the allegations that have been going on since late last week regarding House Speaker Casada and his former Chief of Staff.
After the @CHBmole Twitter account was deactivated, Representative Tillis reportedly said that Speaker Casada needed to step down.
Representative Holt retweeted the report on Tillis and called him out as being the CHB mole and for anonymously creating rumors about many members and staffers in the Republican Caucus.
So, @ricktillisTN (the @CHBmole), who anonymously created rumors about many members/staffers in the Rep Caucus (until getting caught), now he suddenly thinks he knows what the caucus is thinking & what behavior is appropriate? Really, bro? Maybe it’s time 4 an ethics complaint… https://t.co/9oIYlcatQP
— Andy Holt (@AndyHolt4TN) May 8, 2019
Holt questioned whether an ethics complaint for the actions by Representative Tillis is warranted.
Representative Tillis was not immediately available for comment.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.