Texas Republican Scandal

In this May 23, 2019, file photo, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, right, with Governor Greg Abbott, left, speaks at a news conference at the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas. Bonnen called a female lawmaker "vile" and joked about a Democrat being gay in a secretly recorded meeting with a conservative activist. Bonnen also said in the tape released Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, that President Donald Trump "is killing us" in urban and suburban districts ahead of the 2020 elections.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen placed a target on state Rep. Travis Clardy’s back, while former House GOP caucus chairman Dustin Burrows painted the bullseye and added the name of Rep. Trent Ashby, according to audio released Tuesday of a June meeting between House leaders and the CEO of a hardline conservative group.

Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, was one of two Republican lawmakers specifically targeted by Bonnen over opposition to eliminating publicly funded lobbying during a June 12 meeting with Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan. Bonnen, R-Angleton, said repeatedly he would give the conservative group media credentials in exchange for help defeating a group of fellow Republicans in the 2020 primary.

“Travis Clardy and Phil Stephenson, don’t want to go any further down that list,” Bonnen said. “He can,” he added referring to Burrows, a Lubbock Republican.

Sullivan secretly recording the meeting an held onto the tape for months.

Ashby, R-Lufkin, came up after Bonnen left the room and Burrows offered a list of 10 GOP lawmakers he wanted defeated.

“It’s 50/50 what he’d do,” Burrows said.

Burrows also called Clardy “the ringleader of the opposition.”

Bonnen made expletive laden disparaging remarks about multiple Democrats, calling one House member “vile” and saying another “made his skin crawl.”

Read more in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel.

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