On Monday (July 29), Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen issued his first public statement concerning an ongoing dispute between himself and Michael Quinn Sullivan, the CEO of Empower Texans, that began last week.

At the root of the dispute is a disagreement over what was discussed during a June 12th meeting between Bonnen and Sullivan. Lubbock Representative Dustin Burrows was also present.

On Thursday, July 25th, Sullivan wrote an article claiming that during the June 12th meeting, Bonnen and Burrows gave him a list of 10 GOP members to target in the upcoming 2020 election in exchange for House media credentials in 2021, which Empower Texans has long sought after, but been continuously denied.

The GOP members Sullivan says he was told to target includes:

  • Steve Allison, Republican Rep. of San Antonio (District 121)
  • Trent Ashby, Republican Rep. of Lufkin (District 57)
  • Ernest Bailes, Republican Rep. of Shepherd (District 18)
  • Travis Clardy, Republican Rep. of Nacogdoches (District 11)
  • Drew Darby, Republican Rep. of San Angelo (District 72)
  • Kyle Kacal, Republican Rep. of College Station (District 12)
  • Stan Lambert, Republican Rep. of Abilene (District 71)
  • John Raney, Republican Rep. of Bryan (District 14)
  • Phil Stephenson, Republican Rep. of Wharton (District 85)
  • Tan Parker, Republican Rep. of Flower Mound (District 63)

According to the Texas Tribune, in Bonnen's Friday (July 26) email to members of the GOP House, he denied that any target list was given and that Sullivan's article was a  ". . . strategic decision on his part to bolster his legal attempts to force access to the House floor during Session. . .", and that Sullivan's claims of a target list are part of an ". . . ongoing effort to divide and ultimately destroy the Republican majority in the Texas House."

On Rep. Burrows' involvement in the meeting, Bonnen had this to say: "I asked him [Burrows] to come to the meeting and help me explain to MQS [Michael Quinn Sullivan] the need for Empower to not engage in Republican primaries this election cycle. He agreed to attend."

Monday (July 29) afternoon, Sullivan responded to Bonnen’s initial statement in another article, calling it a “deceitful and rambling email," and publicly asked if GOP House Caucus Chairman and Lubbock Representative Dustin Burrows supports Bonnen’s depiction of the meeting.

So far, Burrows has remained silent on the matter. On Monday, Bonnen said he asked Burrows to only be a witness to the June meeting and to not comment on the matter.