Two key Republican leaders are largely remaining silent on allegations of serious legal and ethical improprieties leveled by a conservative political organization’s leader. The allegations involve promised use of official power from elected officials in exchange for political favors to include government-issued media credentials.
In an article written for Texas Scorecard, Michael Quinn Sullivan (MQS) accuses Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and Texas House Republican Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) of offering to extend press credentials for the next session of the Texas Legislature to his political/news organization in exchange for political action against a list of House Republicans in the upcoming primary election.
MQS is currently in litigation against the Texas House for previous denials of press credentials, the article states.
The Texas Scorecard article states:
Sitting in his Capitol office on June 12, Speaker Bonnen was adamant he wanted to do something for me. I told him I didn’t need anything from him or Burrows. But he really wanted me to listen to what he “wanted to do for me.”
Bonnen insisted: He would ensure Texas Scorecard reporters received House floor access in 2021 if we would lay off our criticism of the legislative session, not spend money from our affiliated PACs against certain Republicans, and—most shockingly—go after a list of other Republicans in the 2020 primary elections.
Spending political money was the issue, Bonnen said. Not just refraining from spending it against his pals. He wanted us to spend it against Republicans he saw as not being helpful.
If we could “make this work,” he would put the Texas Scorecard guys on the floor next session.
MQS stated he met with Bonnen and Burrows in Bonnen’s office.
The article continues, listing 10 Texas Republican House members to be targeted by the requested campaign. Those include Steve Allison, Trent Ashby, Ernest Bailes, Travis Clardy, Drew Darby, Kyle Kacal, Stan Lambert, John Raney, and Phil Stephenson.
The allegations sparked a storm of response from other political news organizations across the state.
The Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock wrote, “Bonnen didn’t return a request for comment and Chair Burrows isn’t talking either. In a letter to Sullivan, Bonnen said Sullivan doesn’t remember the meeting correctly.”
Adding political analysis, Braddock stated:
Back in May, newly-elected Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen talked tough about Tim Dunn’s primary political organization, Empower Texas, saying they could never be satisfied and “I sure as hell am not going to waste my time trying.”
Well for some reason, he met with them anyway behind closed doors and one thing is for sure: Frustrations with the speaker, long simmering among some in the lobby and members, have come to the surface as many who detest Dunn’s spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan wonder if what he said about the meeting is true
Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey also weighed in on the blooming political scandal against two top Republican legislators.
A story doesn’t have to be true to be politically damaging, and if Dennis Bonnen didn’t know that a few days ago, he knows it now.
We know that Bonnen, the Republican speaker of the Texas House, met with a hardline conservative political activist named Michael Quinn Sullivan. Sullivan wrote about it on his organization’s website, and Bonnen confirmed the meeting in a letter to Sullivan.
To say the two disagree about what happened in the meeting would be an understatement.
The irony of the allegations from MQS revolves around previous statements from Speaker Bonnen where he warned Texas Republican House members to refrain from making political attacks against fellow House members — Republican or Democrat.
Bonnen took some hits from fellow Republicans outside the Capitol for declaring earlier this year that he wouldn’t look kindly on anyone in the House — of either party — campaigning against fellow incumbents.
“If you choose to campaign against any of your sitting colleagues, I will weigh in against you,” he said at the time. “And if I am fortunate enough to be speaker, you will find yourself not well positioned in the next session.”
In his article, Ramsey concludes:
the speaker elected at the beginning of the year finds himself into the kind of storm that could swamp him. Sullivan’s story is that Bonnen isn’t loyal to his own members. Bonnen says that story isn’t true.
What matters now is what the members of the House believe and whether this causes them to doubt Bonnen.
That’s a matter of politics.
Breitbart News reached out to Speaker Bonnen’s office and to a representative of Chairman Burrows. An immediate response was not available.
Editor’s note: Michael Quinn Sullivan was a former writer for Breitbart Texas.