While noting that he “likely violated” state law, a House committee has officially concluded their investigation into Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, recommending no further prosecutorial action against the speaker in the case.
It was a particularly quiet day in the Texas Capitol, as most staffers and bureaucrats had seemingly fled the building early for Christmas.
But in a sparsely filled subterranean committee room, the Texas House General Investigating Committee met on Friday morning to put an end to their investigation of Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
After initially gaveling in at 10 a.m., the committee immediately went into executive session in a backroom adjacent to the committee room for an hour and a half. When they returned, they adopted a report declaring the investigation over.
“Today’s action concludes the committee’s investigation,” said State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R–Dallas), who chairs the committee.
“In our opinion, the information produced for the Public Integrity Unit Report militates against criminal prosecution of either Speaker Bonnen or Representative Burrows,” the report concluded.
The committee did, however, acknowledge that Bonnen “likely violated” Section 572.051(a) of the Government Code, which prohibits elected officials from soliciting favors or gifts. However, they claimed that the law “provides no independent statutory consequences” for state officials who violate it.
It was revealed earlier this summer that, during a meeting with Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan, Bonnen, with the assistance of State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), offered media credentials to Empower Texans in exchange for the political targeting of certain Republican members. That revelation led the Texas House to initiate a Texas Rangers investigation into Bonnen and, ultimately, Bonnen’s announcement that he would not seek re-election.
The Texas House General Investigating Committee is comprised of Republican State Reps. Morgan Meyer (Dallas), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), and Candy Noble (Parker), as well as Democrat State Reps. Nicole Collier (Fort Worth) and Leo Pacheco (San Antonio).