The Dennis Bonnen drama with Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan has escalated from scandal to full-fledged lawsuit, as the Texas Democratic Party sues House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and hardline conservative Michael Quinn Sullivan for allegedly violating numerous state election laws.
The civil suit, filed in Travis County by the Texas Democratic Party and Representative Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson), seeks damages and materials from defendants Michael Quinn Sullivan and an Unknown Named Political Committee, which includes the Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock).
These are the highlights from the filed lawsuit:
- This document cites articles and quotes as proof of wrongdoing, as well as direct accounts from individuals who heard the recording.
- The June 12 meeting between Sullivan and Rep. Bonnen—and any agreements reached during that time—demonstrates a coordinated effort intended to influence the election or defeat of specific candidates. Therefore, the meeting resulted in the formation of an unregistered political committee, as defined by state law.
- Political action committees are required to be registered with a treasurer and report certain financial and campaign action, which Bonnen and Sullivan did not do.
- Hosting a meeting with this type of agenda is not permitted by state law in the capitol.
- Political spending and contributions directed by one party but carried out by another is illegal in Texas.
- Trading, offering, or granting benefits in the support of the election or defeat of a candidate is illegal in Texas.
- The discovered conversations leads the plaintiffs to believe that they are the target of this and other similar conversations/plans.
- There are several realms of the Texas Election Code that were violated.
- The plaintiffs request the production of:
- Recordings of the meeting
- Recording of other meetings
- Emails, text messages and other communication amongst the three participants of the meeting.
- Communication regarding the recorded meeting.
- Filings made with Texas Election Commission.
- Documents proving efforts to gain credentials to access the Texas House.
- Any documentation regarding the identities of the people who have listened to recording
- Communication with other elected officials and staff regarding the meeting.
The lawsuit, combined with the House General Investigating Committee’s investigation scheduled to begin Monday, shows that things have gone a little off course from the usual after-session slump.
According to reporter Phil Prazan, a spokesperson from the Travis County DA’s office stated that no criminal complaint has been filed, but in the event that happens, by statute the complaint will need to be filed in Brazoria County.