The clear-cut, gritty details of a secret recording between House leadership and the CEO of Empower Texans make it clear that Speaker Dennis Bonnen is not fit for a leadership role in the Lone Star State.
Mr. Speaker, now is the time to resign from your role as the third highest constitutional official in Texas and perhaps from the Legislature altogether.
Bonnen in the tape released Tuesday offers media credentials to Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan in exchange for financial backing for opponents of 10 moderate Republicans who he said “don’t want to help with anything.”
He also clearly offers use of his family’s vacation home in New Mexico to Sullivan after repeatedly asking that Empower Texans give money to candidates he and former GOP caucus chairman Dustin Burrows have singled out. Texas Rangers are working to determine if he broke the law. At the very least he violated the trust that members of the House and the people of Texas gave him.
How despicable, disloyal and backstabbing. Bonnen and Burrows both publicly supported caucus rules that prevented members from campaigning against incumbents. Then in secret their treachery emerges, showing them as the snakes they are.
Sullivan suggested that perhaps Bonnen is more like the fabled scorpion that stings a frog carrying him across the river only to say “It is in my nature to sting.”
“I’ve known Dennis Bonnen for a long time, 25 years as an acquaintance. I’ve been disturbed by the patterns I’ve seen over the year,” Sullivan told a Dallas-area radio show Tuesday.
We don’t often find ourselves agreeing with Sullivan, but we are beyond disturbed by the recording, especially disparaging comments made about Democrats and moderate Republicans.
Bonnen called one female House member “vile” and made indecent remark’s about another’s sexuality.
While both are wretched, what troubles us most as common sense East Texans is that Bonnen and Burrows took aim at the very legislators we sent back to Austin over and over again as our representatives.
The mastermind of the group they are trying to oust, Burrows says clearly on the tape, is state Rep. Travis Clardy.
“Clardy’s the ringleader of all opposition,” Burrows said. “We would be thrilled … to see somebody else come back in that district.”
Burrows was also quick to turn on state Rep. Trent Ashby, saying it was “50/50” what he would do in the 2021 session. In spite of the odds, Ashby was added to the House Hit List.
What disrespect to East Texas voters. Clardy and Ashby have represented us well in Austin, and we are certain they will continue to do so but not under the leadership of Burrows and Bonnen.
Mr. Speaker, it is time to pass the gavel. You’ve made a mistake, but we’re afraid it is one from which you will never recover. Step aside and let the House and the State of Texas began to heal.