Texas House to Investigate Allegations Against Speaker, Member

Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows accused of offering press credentials in exchange for political expenditures. (Image: Breitbart News)
Image: Breitbart News

The Texas House General Investigating Committee announced on Wednesday it would convene a meeting to investigate allegations made against the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Republican Caucus. The allegations stem from a meeting on June 12 between the two House leaders and a conservative political activist.

In a blog post on Texas Scorecard, Michael Quinn Sullivan accused House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) of offering an official government action (the issuance of House Floor press credentials) in exchange for political expenditures against a list of ten Republican state legislators, Breitbart Texas reported. The political meeting allegedly took place in the speaker’s government office.

Following a series of non-denials, apologies, and finally a denial by the speaker, Sullivan announced he had recorded the meeting. Chairman Burrows has remained silent about the meeting despite being asked by the speaker to attend the meeting as a witness.

“I asked Chairman Burrows to be present as a witness to our conversation,” Bonnen wrote in his denial statement. “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.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Texas House General Investigating Committee announced it will launch an investigation into the allegations made by Sullivan, the Texas Tribune reported.

“Last night, I initiated internal discussion with General Investigating staff about procedure with the intention of launching an investigation,” Chairman Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) wrote in the announcement. “Our committee will be posting notice today of a public hearing which will take place on Monday, August 12.”

He addressed the announcement letter to the committee’s vice-chair, Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) who requested the hearing earlier in the day.

In her letter to the chairman, Collier asked the committee to “launch an immediate and full investigation” into “whether there has been a violation of any policy or rules that the committee is charged with overseeing.”

On Monday, Speaker Bonnen sent yet another letter to House members — this time apoligizing for saying “terrible things that are embarrassing to the members, to the House, and to me personally.” He concluded the letter without discussing the quid pro quo allegation made by Sullivan.

As the committee holds subpoena power, Sullivan’s recording that has yet to be released to the public could be ordered delivered for evaluation. So far, only a select few people have listened to the recording.

“I have been a supporter of the speaker since day one,” Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) told the Texas Tribune. “I love Dennis. I didn’t believe any of this. I was shocked. I am discouraged to see the light it put him in and the light it put on the Republican Party.”

Toth listened to the tape with Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) Wednesday night after Michael Quinn Sullivan offered it as evidence to back up his claim that House Speaker Bonnen and House Republican Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) offered a quid pro quo of House Floor media credentials in exchange for political expenditures against the targeted members.

Clardy called the recording the “most disappointing thing I’ve ever seen” in his four terms as a state representative, the Dallas Morning News reported. “They (disparaging comments about Republican and Democrat House members from Bonnen and Burrows) were made flippantly and they were disrespectful,” he said.

The committee hearing is set to convene on Monday, August 12.

Editor’s note: Michael Quinn Sullivan was a former writer for Breitbart Texas.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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