After an investigation by the Texas Rangers into a backroom quid pro quo offer made by Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, charges will not be brought against him in his home county.
When it was revealed by Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan earlier this summer that Bonnen had attempted to offer media credentials in exchange for the political targeting of certain Republican members, and the meeting was recorded on audio, the Texas House General Investigating Committee referred the case to the Texas Rangers to investigate any potential criminal behavior. The results of that investigation were sent to the district attorney in Brazoria, who has the authority to decide whether or not to prosecute Bonnen.
Now, just days after Bonnen announced he would not be running for re-election, Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne says that despite the “repugnant” actions and words from Bonnen, she will not prosecute Bonnen.
“The behavior and statements, as reflected on the June 12, 2019, recording for which Speaker Bonnen has apologized are offensive, lacking in character and integrity, [and] demeaning to other human beings including local government officials, cities, and counties,” Yenne said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“The members of the Texas House of Representatives who placed their confidence in Speaker Bonnen and are entitled to his respect,” she added.
In a post on Twitter, Sullivan contrasted the case to those brought against President Donald Trump, Tom Delay, and Rick Perry—all of whom have been drug through political prosecutions for “little or nothing,” adding that the “criminal justice system is highly political and often illegitimate.”
Texans should ask themselves why men like @realDonaldTrump, Tom Delay, @SecretaryPerry, & @KenPaxtonTX get indicted for little or nothing, but unethical guys like @RepDennisBonnen don’t. The answer is simple: the criminal justice system is highly political and often illegitimate. https://t.co/OUFc0CGpRW
— Michael Quinn Sullivan (@MQSullivan) October 24, 2019
A spokesman for Bonnen issued a statement following the decision calling it “unfortunate” that the recording and the subsequent investigation “ultimately ended with the defamation of a man’s quarter-century in public service.”
Though charges were not brought in Brazoria County, Bonnen’s political future is all but over, as he announced earlier this week that he would not seek re-election to the legislature amidst the scandal.