The Texas Speaker of the House flatly denied an unsubstantiated allegation of bribery made by a political blogger last week. The accuser quickly responded and doubled down on his allegations of misconduct by the speaker and the chairman of the House Republican Caucus but offered no proof.
Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) issued a statement from his office on Monday afternoon flatly denying claims made by Michael Quinn Sullivan (MQS) in a blog post published on Texas Scorecard.
“Let me be clear.” Speaker Bonnen said in the statement. “At no point in our conversation was Sullivan provided with a list of target Members.”
MQS claimed that during a meeting following the end of the legislative session, he met with Speaker Bonnen and House Republican Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) about the results of the session and about getting media credentials for his bloggers for the next legislative session, Breitbart News reported. Sullivan claimed that the speaker offered official credentials for the next legislative session “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.”
So far, neither Sullivan nor Texas Scorecard has provided any proof of this allegation.
Bonnen sent an email to his fellow Republican House members over the weekend where he explained the meeting but did not deny the alleged quid pro quo. The text of that email is published in its entirety on Breitbart News.
On Monday, Bonnen issued an official statement from his Capitol office. Speaker Bonnen states:
Last Friday, I sent an email to my Republican colleagues to set the record straight regarding the latest hit job to emerge from Empower Texans in their longstanding effort to divide and destroy the Republicans in the Texas House.
Despite my best attempt at clearly and efficiently laying out the facts, the true nature of my conversation with Michael Quinn Sullivan somehow continues to get lost in the media narrative. Let me be clear. At no point in our conversation was Sullivan provided with a list of target Members. I had one simple reason for taking the meeting — I saw it as an opportunity to protect my Republican colleagues and prevent us from having to waste millions of dollars defending ourselves against Empower Texans’ destructive primary attacks, as we have had to do the past several cycles.
I asked Chairman Burrows to be present as a witness to our conversation. I also asked him not to comment on this matter because this was an attack by Sullivan on me as the Speaker, and I wanted the opportunity to communicate with Members directly in an email that I sent on Friday evening. I have apologized to Chairman Burrows for everything he has gone through — at no fault of his own — as a result of simply doing what I asked him to do.
It is my hope that this additional context will resolve any lingering issues related to this matter so that we can move on. Sullivan’s only goal is to create chaos among House Republicans, and I only took this meeting in an effort to stop that chaos. Clearly, I was wrong. As I expressed to my Republican colleagues on Friday, it will always be my top priority to protect their best interests, and I look forward to working with them to maintain a Republican majority in 2021.
Sullivan quickly responded with a rebuttal to Bonnen’s claim that Sullivan did not receive a “list of target Members.”
Because Bonnen now claims Chairman Burrows was in the meeting as a “witness,” these three questions should be put to him:
- Does he stand by Bonnen’s misrepresentation of the meeting and its substance?
- Did Speaker Bonnen not in the meeting say “he’ll show you the list…”?
- Then did Bonnen not leave the room and did Burrows not read a list of Republican targets the two of them hoped Empower Texans’ political action committee would “fund” against?
The rebuttal notwithstanding, Sullivan has still not provided any proof of the allegation and appears to be demanding the speaker and Chairman Burrows prove their innocence.
Bonnen has remained silent on the matter since it broke on Friday.