Paid to Speak: MJ’s Hidden Income

Election Day is 5 days away and Texas voters are getting a barrage of biographical TV ads and eBlasts from MJ Hegar, but how accurate is her “regular Texan, just like you” message?

Hegar is quick to tout her work in healthcare, tech and as a small business owner, but (like her policy platform) stops way ahead of diving into details. She also leaves out the most recent part of her work history – which raises the question: What is MJ hiding?

Filed in May 2020, Hegar’s most recent financial disclosure reported she earned a non-investment income of $196,133.97 – which is exclusive of her husband’s income from Dell (U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures Website, Accessed 7/5/20). This includes paid speaking fees received while campaigning for #TXSEN, book royalties, a Netflix option agreement, and a 5-month role (responsibilities unknown) with Hippo Technologies LLC (U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures Website, Accessed 7/5/10).

Since 2016, she’s taken in more than $205,000 in speaking fees alone. Financial records show MJ receives $10,000-$16,000 per paid speech – in addition to having airport greeters, hotels, personal rental cars, security and healthy/organic meals.

In 2017, Hegar demanded $12,500 to speak at her alma mater, UT Austin’s annual “Texas Tea” event. The public university was able to negotiate down to $10,000, plus a $233.64 ExecuCar SUV service to chauffer MJ round-trip from her home in Round Rock to Austin. Originally expected to bring in 300 audience members, the event was paired down to 200 because it had not “picked up as much steam on Facebook as [they] had hoped” (University Of Texas At Austin, Public Information Act Request, p. 113). 

In 2020, Hegar told voters her family is “in debt now” and campaigning has “killed [her] family financially,” claiming they are “struggling” (Remarks At A Virtual Vote Mama Campaign Event, 5/9/20). “Because we’re middle class. We’re a two-income family, and we were barely making it because of my congressional run,” MJ told another group in San Antonio. (2/19/20)

A separate section of her hidden resume includes a consulting company called “H3” owned by MJ and her husband, and operated from their Round Rock home. The company’s website listed big time clients – Dell, Seton, UT and the University of Notre Dame – but its income levels remain a mystery. Though MJ often mentions her experience as a “small business owner,” H3 is not listed on her LinkedIn profile and its business certificate was “involuntarily ended” – then terminated – by the Texas Comptroller because of franchise tax filings. 

On the campaign trail, MJ shares her military story and business acumen. However, given how successful she is in packing a hard day’s work into a 60 minute speech, plus an occasional mix n’ mingle and book signing afterward, why hasn’t MJ ever talked about her paid speaking career or her small business? The median household income in Texas is $59,570 – an amount MJ was able to earn with a handful of speeches.  Is MJ being truthful with voters?