Michael Quinn Sullivan released the audio he secretly recorded during a June meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen in which Bonnen implies he’d like Sullivan to target House members in the primary election, including Republican colleagues.
Also in the recording, Bonnen said could offer Sullivan’s “guys” — referring to Texas Scorecard, the conservative information service affiliated with the Sullivan-led Empower Texans — House floor media access during the next legislative session.
In a Tuesday morning statement from Bonnen, the speaker says the release of the recording proves no laws were broken and can let the House “finally move on.”
“I have repeatedly called for the recording to be released because it will be immediately clear that no laws were broken,” Bonnen said in the statement. “This was nothing more than a political discussion — the problem is that I had it with that guy.”
Sullivan released the audio on The Chris Salcedo WBAP radio show on Tuesday morning, where he was scheduled to make an appearance.
About nine minutes into the tape of the meeting, where Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, was also present, Bonnen said, “I’m trying to win in 2020, in November.”
Sullivan has said for months Bonnen and Burrows provided him with a list of 10 sitting House Republicans to target in the primary. The discussion was couched around being able to satisfy Sullivan's desire to pass a bill prohibiting taxpayer-funding lobbying by local governments, a bill that failed to gain traction in the last session.
“The problem I’m gonna have is that either way, whether we lose a few seats, or we gain a few seats or we just stay stagnant, if I still have the same 10 moderate Republicans who don’t want to help on anything, I’m still unable to do what you and I would want done,” Bonnen said in the recording.
Bonnen continues that instead of wasting money and energy against each other, they should focus on holding the Republican majority in 2020.
“Even help us out and you kill off one or two or three of them who are never gonna help,” Bonnen said to Sullivan in the recording.
Minutes later, Bonnen said he will do something for Sullivan, to which Sullivan replied that he doesn’t “need” anything.
“We can make this work,” Bonnen said. “I’ll put your guys on the floor next session.”
“Or take them all off,” Sullivan said.