State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano), who has so far refused to respond to citizens concerning the recently released audio of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s backroom, quid pro quo offer to Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan, has broken his silence—to offer an apology to local politicians.
In the audio of the meeting, which was released in full on Tuesday and spans over an hour in length, Bonnen offers Sullivan and Empower Texans media credentials in exchange for the political targeting of certain Republican members. Additionally, he uses lewd language to take swipes at several of his colleagues in the Texas House.
All of that had thus far been met with silence from Leach, who defended Bonnen earlier in the summer before even listening to the audio of the meeting.
This is a strong, much-needed statement from our Speaker. Like me, & all of us, Dennis is imperfect. But this statement exhibits a refreshing humility that admits missteps & seeks to make rebuild the trust that has been broken. A great step forward for him & the Texas House. https://t.co/fmXx782T23
— Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) August 6, 2019
But now that the audio is public and citizens are demanding he rebuke Bonnen or even ask him to resign, Leach is refusing to respond. He did, however, take the time to write to politicians in his district, apologizing for remarks made by Bonnen in the clip that is critical of local government.
“Without equivocation, Speaker Bonnen’s comments condemning local officials were both hurtful and offensive. And they were wrong,” he said in an email sent on Friday. “I value my relationship with you, and I look forward to continuing our partnership as we work together to serve our constituents.
“As always, I invite and encourage you to contact me directly if I may be of service to you,” he added.
That offer may be open to elected officials only, as some citizens have taken to social media to complain of his silence so far.
Leach is more concerned with other elected officials than he is with his own constituency. Where is his apology to the voters of Collin County.
— Joel Starnes (@joelstarnes) October 18, 2019
Concern for hurt feelings of local officials, but not the highly unethical, hypocritical action of offering press credentials- & offering to REVOKE them- in exchange for shaping a 'pop list' of incumbents he wanted to defeat. After threatening House member who would do the same.
— Michael Openshaw (@mopenshaw) October 18, 2019
The email’s release comes at a time in which Leach, and the majority of the Republican caucus, are currently holding a caucus meeting in Austin in which Bonnen’s future will be discussed amidst growing calls from his colleagues for his resignation.