As I stated here, Speaker Dennis Bonnen is a liar. After Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan released a recording of his interaction with Bonnen and Rep. Dustin Burrows, you have all the proof you need.
Before learning there was a recording, Speaker Bonnen lied about every single aspect of the meeting. The pattern of lies is significant. He told the public during the session he would not challenge any incumbent House members, and he threatened to punish any House members who did. The House GOP caucus even passed a rule this year prohibiting its members from working against other Republican incumbents. Then, as he plotted to break his own rules, he told Republican Caucus members that I (rather than he) was their greatest threat.
Most significantly, of course, is Mr. Bonnen offering to ensure Texas Scorecard staff would receive media credentials in 2021 that were improperly denied to them in 2019 on the condition I went along with his plan. He has denied making this quid pro quo offer.
“This is Dennis,” the speaker said to a House member in a 22-second voicemail soon after Sullivan lobbed his allegations. “Hopefully, you know better than to believe anything Michael Quinn Sullivan would bother to say. … I did meet with him to tell him he should not campaign against any Republican in the primary — um, obviously the opposite of what he’s trying to present.”
Now that voicemail, obtained by The Texas Tribune, is giving more ammunition to critics who say it was Bonnen — not Sullivan — who has lied and misled the people who elevated him to the powerful elected position he could be in danger of losing.
Of course, Michael was accurate in his original post about the matter. Bonnen lying isn’t new, nor is Michael’s opposition to people he thinks are “conservative” enough. I’ve disagreed with him and his Empower Texan employees plenty of times. In this case, he is completely correct.
The honorable thing to do would be for Bonnen to resign his House seat. As Bonnen correctly noted, Republicans in Texas are going to have a hard time in 2020 with Donald Trump at the top of the ballot. Given the right circumstances, Republicans can still win but not with a proven corrupt leader in the top position of the Texas House.
I’m disappointed in my representative, Rep. Dennis Paul, for not leading on this issue. I’m not surprised though because Dennis is a low profile guy.
I’m super disappointed in Rep. Jim Murphy, who has defended Bonnen even after listening to the recording. Rep. Murphy has been one of my favorite guys in the lege because he is low profile and very effective. But on this issue, he has been outspoken and a leader of the pro-Bonnen crowd. He characterized this conversation as nothing more than a political discussion. Total nonsense.
Republicans – clean up your mess. Otherwise, the voters will clean it up for you.
David M. Wilson says
David, you shouldn’t be surprised at Murphy’s silence on the matter since he was rewarded by the establishment Republican leadership with the caucus chair position. Haven’t you noticed that Murphy has been a LOT quieter since his conflict of interest was revealed earlier this year.
Tom in Lazybrook says
So next session, who are his biggest competitors for Speaker/Minority Leader?
Isn’t Jim Murphy the rep from near west Houston that did a 180 on pension review and abandoned efforts to get a handle on municipal debt related to that? I guess the police union bought him off.
What I find really odd is Bonnen attacking Phil Richardson for being too conservative. Richardson is the guy that wants to invest the rainy day fund in the stock market to shore up said pensions.
I winced when Dennis Paul teamed with Dan Huberty for school finance reform. Huberty is a solid Bonnen ally.
Bonnen’s out as speaker and not running for his seat.
I wonder what it would take to get an actual conservative in there. We may never know.