UPDATED: House Speaker Bonnen, Rep. Burrows accused of targeting fellow Republicans in 2020
Political activist Michael Quinn Sullivan accused Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen of trying to undermine the campaigns of 10 members of his own party.
Sullivan wrote about speaking with the Republican speaker and Lubbock Representative Dustin Burrows in an article published on his organization's website, Texas Scorecard, part of the Empower Texans conservative political group.
In the article, Sullivan claims Bonnen invited him to a meeting after the session, with Burrows also present. He said the house speaker offered House media credentials to Texas Scorecard writers in 2021 "if we would lay off our criticism of the legislative session, not spend money from our affiliated PACs against certain Republicans, and—most shockingly—go after a list of other Republicans in the 2020 primary elections."
Sullivan then claims Bonnen left and Burrows read a list of targets. All 10 of them Republican representatives. This includes - Steven Allison, Trent Ashby, Ernest Bailes, Travis Clardy, Drew Darby, Kyle Kacal, Stan Lambert, John Raney, Phil Stephenson, and Tan Parker.
Sullivan said he sent both a letter rejecting the deal. Bonnen replied in a letter, claiming no offer was made, so there was nothing to "reject."
We reached out to Burrows' office Monday, which denied to comment.
The Texas Tribune reported Monday afternoon, four days after the initial report, Bonnen released a public statement denying he is targeting these Republicans.
According to Bonnen's statement, "the true nature of my conversation with Michael Quinn Sullivan somehow continues to get lost in the media narrative."
"Let me be clear," Bonnen said. "At no point in our conversation was Sullivan provided with a list of target Members."
Bonnen also said in the statement he asked Burrows not to comment.
The Tribune reports earlier Monday one of the representative on the reported list, Ernest Bailes of Shepherd, asked for Burrows' response. This is according to an e-mail Bailes sent to members of the Republican caucus.
The caucus' executive director responded to Bailes, saying that she would inquire with Burrows about whether he intends to do so, according to the Tribune's report. Bailes responded with a formal request to Burrows for a response.