Austin and Lubbock, August 16 – State Representative Dustin Burrows, Republican of Lubbock, resigned this morning as Chairman of the State Republican Caucus for the Texas House of Representatives. Burrows will remain as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing House District 83, and will continue as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Republican of Angleton, announced the resignation this morning.
Burrows resigned as fallout from the developing “Bonnengate” scandal involving a meeting on June 12, 2019, between Bonnen and Empower Texans Chairman Michael Quinn Sullivan during which Bonnen asked Sullivan to enter into a “quid pro quo” with him that the Speaker would arrange to provide press credentials to Empower Texans’ blog correspondents in return for Empower Texans not targeting certain Republican legislators and agreeing to target certain other Republican legislators. Sullivan did not agree to the “quid pro quo” during the meeting.
It turned out that Sullivan did, however, create a tape-record the entire meeting as it was ensuing. Burrows attended the meeting in Speaker BonnEn‘s office at the request of Bonnen. At the end of the meeting Burrows verbally provided a list of the members of the Texas House whom the Speaker wanted Empower Texans to target with respect to their reelection in 2020. Other than providing that list Burrows was not involved in the vast majority of the conversation other than just listening to the colloquy between Bonnen and Sullivan.
This development is major, because it puts enormous pressure upon Bonnen to resign as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
The Texas Rangers are conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether or not Bonnen violated provisions of the Texas Penal Code which prohibit a public official from engaging in conduct tantamount to bribery.
The Texas House General Investigating Committee requested that the Texas Rangers begin a criminal investigation of the matter.
At least one member of the Texas House has called upon Speaker Bonnen and Representative Burrows to resign. The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County Republican Party, called upon Bonnen to resign from the Texas House and as Speaker two weeks ago.
Surprisingly, Republican Party officials have been noticeably silent with respect to this terrible lapse in judgment and ethics by Speaker Bonnen.
Neither Bonnen nor Burrows responded to telephone calls seeking comment.