REPORT: Texas Democrats Sue Bribery Accuser to Preserve Documents, Release Recording

House wing of the Texas Capitol in Austin. (Photo by Bob Price)
Photo: Bob Price/Breitbart Texas

The Texas Democratic Party and a Democrat State Representative reportedly filed a lawsuit against the man who accused the Texas Speaker of the House and Chairman of the House Republican Caucus of misconduct and bribery. The lawsuit seeks to protect records and force the release on a recording from a meeting between the three parties.

The Democratic Party of Texas and State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Dallas) filed a lawsuit against Michael Quinn Sullivan and an “Unknown Named Political Committee” in reference to alleged campaign finance violations, the Texas Tribune’s Cassi Pollock reported. The lawsuit requests production of a recording made by Sullivan of a meeting with Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and Republican House Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) in which the speaker and chairman solicited “political expenditures and/or contributions in exchange for government benefits that the Speaker promised to deliver,” an unrecorded copy of the petition published by Pollock states. The Travis County District Clerk’s Office could not confirm receipt of this lawsuit being filed to Breitbart Texas on Thursday. Officials in the clerk’s office said they are running about three or four days behind on accepting e-filings.

The petition continues:

Moreover, the recording also includes comments by the Speaker seeking coordination with Sullivan and his associated political committee, Empower Texans, with respect to numerous upcoming elections including at least ten different races for district offices in the Texas House of Representatives. Plaintiff Ramos, upon information and belief, is one of the candidates mentioned in this recording as a target of the coordinated political efforts between the Speaker and Sullivan.

On or about June 12, 2016, Texas Speaker Dennis Bonnen along with State Representative Dustin Burrows, Chair of the House Republican Caucus, conducted a meeting with Sullivan at the Texas Capitol. Sullivan recorded this meeting and has been allowing numerous persons to listen to the recording at his office in Travis County.

The public reports of at least six people who have listened to the recording describe the Speaker soliciting campaign contributions and expenditures from Sullivan against at least ten Republican members of the Texas House as well as an unknown number of Democratic members, including Plaintiff Ramos.

According to sources who have listened to the video and/or who were present at the meeting, Speaker Bonnen is also described to have offered valuable government benefits, such as media credentials permitting persons to enter the Texas House Chamber when the House is in session, in exchange for political contributions and expenditures against his targeted political enemies.

The meeting between Sullivan, the Speaker and Rep. Burrows amounted a coordination meeting between political actors intended to influence the election or defeat of specific candidates. This meeting, and any agreements reached,  resulted in the formation of a political committee, as defined by state law. Such political committee is required to be registered with an appointed treasurer and, upon information and belief, it is not. Furthermore, certain public reports of campaign related activities are required to be filed and, upon information and belief, they have not been filed. What is more, none of this activity is permitted by law to occur in the Capitol Building.

The plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to “prohibit any planned or ongoing campaign finance violations.”

The petition does not name Bonnen and Burrows as defendants. Instead, the petition names them as parties part of a “civil conspiracy” involving an “Unknown Named Political Committee.”

Democrats appear to be taking a lead role in getting to the bottom of allegations of bribery and official misconduct against Speaker Bonnen and Rep. Burrows. In addition to the lawsuit, House Investigating Committee Vice-Chair Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) requested the committee call a hearing to investigate the allegations. Later on Wednesday, Chairman Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) agreed to call the committee into session next week to look into the matter, Breitbart Texas reported.

The committee hearing could possibly grant immunity from indictment or prosecution to Bonnen and Burrows under a state law that grants such immunity if a person is compelled to testify on a matter that would incriminate them.

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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