Image: Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s “apology” letter, August 6, 2019.
Reprint of Dennis Bonnen’s feckless apology,, dated August 6, 2019, or whatever one might call what seemed more like an attack than an apology:
Was it an apology or an attack? Based upon the vicious nature of Bonnen’s personality behind-closed-doors, the apology appears more like an attack against Sullivan than an apology to anyone.
Bonnen’s bizarre apology in its entirety appears at the top of this article.
Bonnen’s apology stopped short of addressing the key issues, however, in this sordid affair emanating entirely from Bonnen’s terrible personal conduct inside the walls of the Texas State Capitol:
- Bonnen failed to apologize for lying to all Texans in his publicly-released June 27 public letter to Sullivan in which the Speaker claimed “no offer was made to you of any kind” when, in fact, the offer clearly occurred during minute 16 of the tape recording;
- Bonnen failed to apologize for making the offer to provide press credentials to Empower Texans’ online blog correspondents in return for Sullivan’s promise to “lay off our criticism of the legislative session, not spend money from our affiliated PACs against certain Republicans, and—most shockingly—go after a list of other Republicans in the 2020 primary elections”;
- Bonnen failed to apologize to the people of Texas for his disgusting and vile comments about members of the Texas House;
- Bonnen failed to apologize to the people of Texas for his foul and loathful language towards women and other particular types of people;
- Bonnen failed to apologize to the people of Texas for his again in his August 6, 2019, “I’m sorry” email for attacking Sullivan again when Sullivan clearly told the truth, handled the meeting professionally, and has responded to the terrible aftermath Bonnen has created with honor and dignity;
- Bonnen failed to apologize to Sullivan for offering a quid pro quo and for subjecting Sullivan to the demeaning articulations Bonnen spewed during the meeting.
On Tuesday, August 6, State Representative Tan Parker, Republican of Flower Mound, issued a strong statement against the conduct of the Speaker, which follows.
On July 31, 2019, State Representative Steve Toth, renowned conservative Republican of Conroe, clearly expressed shock, after he heard a tape recording of the meeting between Dennis Bonnen, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and Empower Texans Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Quinn Sullivan of the June 12, 2019, meeting between Bonnen and Sullivan in which Bonnen offered to allow Empower Texans’ online blog correspondents to obtain press credentials to the Texas Legislature in return for Sullivan’s promise to “lay off our criticism of the legislative session, not spend money from our affiliated PACs against certain Republicans, and—most shockingly—go after a list of other Republicans in the 2020 primary elections.” State Representative Dustin Burrows, Republican of Lubbock, who is the House GOP Caucus Chairman and a close political ally of Bonnen, attended the June 12 meeting with Bonnen and Sullivan.
Toth, who has been a supporter of Bonnen’s Speakership during the 86th Legislative Session, which adjourned on May 28, 2019, told this newspaper Wednesday evening, “The tape recording, which Michael [Quinn Sullivan] played was vile and incredibly damaging. The rhetoric Speaker Bonnen used during the meeting was terrible about both sides.” Toth continued, “Speaker Bonnen said some terrible things about democrats and Republicans in the House.”
Toth confirmed that the “quid pro quo” discussion which Bonnen raised during the meeting occurred at the “16 minute mark” of Sullivan’s tape recording.
Sullivan has now played the recording for several members of the Texas House as well as members of the State Republican Executive Committee. McKenzie Taylor, a reporter with The Texan News, reported on Twitter, “Rep[resentative] Stickland tells me he has heard the recording of the meeting between @MQSullivan, @RepDennisBonnen, and @Burrows4TX. Michael [Quinn Sullivan] has misled no one. In fact, he understated the severity of what happened in the speaker’s office.”
At the end of the June 12 meeting, according to Sullivan, as Sullivan reported in Texas Scorecard, the leading blog of Empower Texans, Bonnen left his office in the Texas State Capitol where they met and Burrows read a list of ten (10) Republican State Representatives whom Bonnen wanted Empower Texans and its political action committees to target in return for press credentials for the “Texas Scorecard” blog reporters. The list, according to Sullivan, was 10 Republican Representatives – Steve Allison, Trent Ashby, Ernest Bailes, Travis Clardy, Drew Darby, Kyle Kacal, Stan Lambert, John Caney, and Phil Stephenson.
Bonnen had indicated, according to Sullivan, during the meeting in Bonnen’s Capitol Office that Bonnen wanted Empower Texans to cease criticizing the failure of Republicans during the 86th Texas Legislature to achieve major Republican Legislative Priorities, especially the failure to ban taxpayer funded lobbying, to pass Constitutional Carry, and to pass Pro Life legislation. Sullivan and Empower Texans have been very critical – quite accurately – that Bonnen’s Texas House was largely to blame for those failures.
On June 27, 2019, Bonnen issued a letter to Sullivan, which such letter Bonnen released publicly, in which the Speaker denied Sullivan’s version of the meeting. Speaker Bonnen’s letter follows.
Rumors began to surface about four weeks ago that Sullivan had tape-recorded the entire meeting, however.
Reports about Sullivan’s recording suggest that Bonnen’s conduct may have skirted very close to violating Texas Penal Code Section 36.02, the Texas Bribery Statute, which provides, “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another: (1) any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter.”
According to a blog post on July 31, 2019, in the Texas Scorecard, Sullivan announced, “I recorded the meeting with Speaker Bonnen because of his history.” Subsequent events certainly have borne that out.
Sullivan explained that he met with State Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, disclosed that Sullivan had recorded the meeting, and asked Dickey “to take action cleaning up the GOP’s messy House.” Dickey has been largely silent about the matter, however.