Three Republican Texas House members aren’t playing hooky but are rather recusing themselves from an important meeting in Austin this weekend.
State Rep. Matt Krause (Fort Worth), a Republican member of the Texas House Investigating Committee, released a statement on Facebook announcing the three Republican members of the committee would be skipping the Texas House Republican Caucus meeting set to convene Friday afternoon.
Krause, along with State Reps. Candy Noble (R-Allen) and Committee Chairman Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), are recusing themselves by not attending the Republican caucus retreat this weekend. Inevitably, caucus members will discuss the quid pro quo scandal initiated by Speaker Dennis Bonnen in a meeting with former Republican House Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan. The recording confirms what Sullivan has long alleged took place, and the Texas political sphere has since been in a bit of a nosedive. Krause suggested the three would be skipping the meeting “to avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety.”
His full statement reads as follows:
Many of you have asked my position on the current situation with the Speaker and the recently released audio recording. I never want it to seem like I am ignoring or dodging my constituents, so I just wanted to provide this brief statement. If you will remember, I am a member of the General Investigating Committee. We are still in the process of investigating the meeting with the Speaker and others this summer. As I said a few months back, since I am on the committee that is conducting the investigation, it would be improper for me to weigh in on the situation until the investigation is complete. Nothing that has transpired this week has changed those dynamics.
Right now I am committed to carrying out my duties on the committee in the best way possible. And to do so with the utmost character and integrity. It’s the reason why the 3 Republicans on the committee have decided to skip the GOP House Caucus retreat this week – to avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety.
So, again, to all of those who are asking my position on the current matter, please know that I am not ignoring you. It’s just that it would be inappropriate to say anything at this time.
Texas House Democratic Caucus Chairman, State Rep. Chris Turner (Grand Prairie), went to Twitter to say the caucus did indeed meet for their previously scheduled meeting and fundraiser in Austin on Wednesday. A source close to the caucus confirmed for Texas Scorecard that two of Speaker Bonnen’s Democrat committee chairmen were present, State Rep. Terry Canales (Edinburg) being one such member.
State Rep. Leo Pacheco (San Antonio), one of the two Democrat members of the General Investigating Committee, told Texas Scorecard he did not attend the meeting Wednesday night; moreover, he made it clear he did not intend to participate in any subsequent meetings where Bonnen, the recording, or any other elements of the investigation were topics of discussion. Pacheco said it is very important for him to avoid bias and any appearance of impropriety while the investigation is ongoing, not unlike what was reflected in Krause’s statement.
At the time of this article’s publication, however, the other Democrat lawmaker on the General Investigating Committee, State Rep. Nicole Collier (Fort Worth), had not responded to inquiries to confirm whether she was among the 25 members in attendance Wednesday evening, where, according to one attendee, the release of the recording was indeed a topic of discussion.