Another potential candidate for Speaker of the House, Dustin Burrows, has ties to a bank connected to current House Speaker Dade Phelan and disgraced former Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

With Phelan entering a runoff election in second place to keep his southeast Texas seat, discussion has already begun in the capitol over who will take the gavel next session—whether or not Phelan manages to be reelected to the House.

Last week, Texas Scorecard reported on the employment of one potential candidate—Republican State Rep. Cody Harris of Palestine—by Third Coast Bank.

In late 2019, Third Coast Bank acquired Heritage Bank, where Dennis Bonnen had served as President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. He currently sits on Third Coast’s Board of Directors.

Dade Phelan’s brother Lan Phelan was a director of Third Coast from 2013 until at least 2016, according to filings with the secretary of state. A 2021 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the bank’s Beaumont location was leased from Phelan’s family investment firm.

Additionally, the most recent personal financial statement from Dade Phelan shows that he owns shares in Third Coast. 

Also shown owning shares in the Bonnen-Phelan bank is State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock). 

According to his 2022 personal financial statement—the most recent available—Burrows (through his spouse) owns between 1,000 and 4,999 shares of Third Coast.

Inside the legislature, Burrows has had a close relationship with both Bonnen and Phelan. He currently serves as the chairman of the Calendars Committee, which has been called the most powerful committee in the House, as it largely dictates which measures will be heard and when.

Sources indicated that Burrows is among those currently attempting to rally support among members either for himself or for one of his allies in order to remain in power under the next speaker.

Burrows did not respond to a request for context on why he came to own shares in Third Coast Bank or on any appearance of impropriety. 

While officeholders are required to file personal financial statements annually, the Texas Ethics Commission only makes them available upon request. An initial review of these documents shows that other House members owning shares in the Bonnen-Phelan bank include Dennis’ brother State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R–Friendswood) as well as Ed Thompson (R–Pearland) and Tom Craddick (R–Midland).

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens