We are deeply saddened that Speaker Bonnen’s “New Day” in the legislature actually turned out to be a “Dark Day” for the reputation of the Texas Legislature, the Republican Party and, most of all, the citizens whose trust has apparently been betrayed.
On Friday, August 16, we took the opportunity to listen to the infamous recording of the meeting that Speaker Bonnen had requested with Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan, with State Rep. Dustin Burrows in attendance. Our interpretation, after listening to the entirety of the recording, strongly confirms Sullivan’s version of the meeting and repudiates the falsehoods that the speaker has been spreading.
A number of people have commented on their disappointment in and disgust with Speaker Bonnen’s conduct. Other individuals have commented on the need to forgive and forget, that this was just “hardball” politics. We totally disagree with the latter view. The lies, the quid pro quo, the use of the speaker’s chamber for political dealing, the commitment to direct his PAC money—all these go beyond hardball and reveal a deeper malady.
Perhaps the most egregious revelation is the apparent belief on Speaker Bonnen’s part that anyone can be bought. That the tactics the speaker apparently uses on other House members can be applied to honest citizens. That the mere enticement of becoming an “insider” with the speaker is incentive enough to corrupt one of the most articulate spokespersons for fiscal responsibility. That colluding with the speaker against his “targets” would preempt ET’s own judgment and values. This is indeed a malady.
We cannot read the speaker’s mind. But it is easy to suspect that an unspoken objective of the speaker may well have been a deliberate attempt to effectively silence ET. Had Sullivan accepted the offer and become a party to a corrupt plan, had he violated his principles and “sold his soul,” and had he become complicit in a potentially unlawful action, ET’s credibility and standing in the conservative movement would have been permanently damaged.
Speaker Bonnen’s corrupting influence cannot be allowed to continue and fester, damaging the integrity of the Legislature and the reputation of the Republican Party of Texas and besmirching the honor of the citizens of Texas. Speaker Bonnen must resign his position as speaker and, depending on the outcome of the Texas Rangers’ investigation currently underway, resign from the Texas House.
This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to firstname.lastname@example.org.