State Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) has agreed to step down from his majority whip position, according to an email Majority Caucus Chairman and State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) sent to his fellow legislators last week.
That’s all top officials at the state capitol seem to say publicly. But there is more to the story, at least according to various sources.
Those sources told The Tennessee Star two weeks ago that Tillis only stepped down after a vote of no confidence among his colleagues.
Sources, who requested anonymity, said Tillis stepped down after members of one internal Republican caucus held a closed-door meeting and said they doubted Tillis’ abilities as majority whip.
As reported, Tillis denied posting 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 at the time that Tillis indeed took up that persona and said Tillis already confessed to him.
Holt already used his personal Twitter to out Tillis.
CHP is short for the Cordell Hull Building, where legislators have offices.
Sources said Tillis admitted to his colleagues he was indeed involved with the CHBmole account — but he said he shared that account with other people.
The person, or possibly people, who operated CHBmole deleted it in May.
Two weeks ago, Tillis did not return The Star’s repeated requests for comment — including two attempts by phone and another attempt by text. In the text, we asked Tillis to confirm or deny what our sources told us.
When contacted, also two weeks ago, other state legislators declined comment and would not go on record.
One legislator said he would not talk “out of respect for Tillis.” That same legislator also said that “in a few days the details of the meeting will come out.”
Another source, who was not a state legislator, said the CHBmole account had a lot of false information and even disparaged people who were not elected officials.
In May Tillis denied providing a Tennessean reporter the phone number to participate in a House Republican conference call with former Tennessee Republican Speaker of the House Glen Casada.
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.
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