LEWISBURG — State Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisburg, denies he posted anonymous and derogatory tweets disparaging Tennessee state house members and their staff under the name @CHBmole.
But Tillis’ colleague, State Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, said Tillis indeed took up that persona earlier this year and said Tillis already confessed to him.
CHP is short for the Cordell Hull Building, where legislators’ have offices.
The person, or possibly people, who operated the account deleted it this week.
The Tennessee Star caught up with Tillis Friday at a Marshall County Chamber Breakfast and asked him point blank — Are you the @CHBmole?
Tillis responded with this:
“I am not.”
Later in the day, Holt challenged that statement.
“The confirmation that I have that Rick Tillis is a participant in the @CHPmole account is the fact that he admitted it to me in a telephone conversation. He disclosed this to me,” Holt said.
“His quotes were that he was sent the log-in credentials to this Twitter site, @CHPmole. He said he went into the account in February 2019 and made one specific post about Representative Bruce Griffey. He admitted he had the credentials. That he logged on and that he made one post. I have evidence to believe there is a lot more activity than that, but he admitted to me himself that he was a participant in that account.”
Holt said he will not comment on who else was possibly involved, at least not until he has more evidence.
Holt already used his personal Twitter to out Tillis.
Tillis, however, said Friday morning Holt had not yet confronted him about the matter.
“I respect Andy, and we’ve worked well together. I’m not sure why he’s doing this,” Tillis said.
“It’s very unfortunate considering the circumstances of what is going on in the state house right now.”
Tillis referred, of course, to the controversy surrounding the release of offensive texts Republican Speaker of the House Glen Casada exchanged with his former chief of staff Cade Cothren.
Tillis reportedly said Casada needs to step down. Tillis said this after someone deactivated the @CHBmole account.
Tillis also denied providing a Tennessean reporter the phone number to participate in a House Republican conference call with Casada this week.
Two Republican legislators on the call told The Star they were not aware someone had invited a Tennessean reporter to listen in. Both legislators said someone should have advised them and other Caucus members that reporters were secretly listening.