August 8, 2019/Media, Press

Texas Democratic Party Files Lawsuit On Serious Campaign Finance Violations by Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen and Michael Quinn Sullivan

The lawsuit filed amidst serious allegations of illegal abuse of power, quid-pro-quo for political favors, and bigoted comments

AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in Travis County District Court regarding serious campaign finance violations by conservative dark money operative Michael Quinn Sullivan and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen. 

State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos, who joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, was allegedly mentioned in the audio recording as the Republican Speaker, Republican House Caucus Chair, and other big-moneyed Republican interests illegally discussed high priority targets.  

What we know: 

  • According to several accounts, Sullivan, Bonnen, and Burrows met in the Texas Capitol in June to influence and direct the right-wing political action committee Empower Texans to target a number of incumbent members of the Texas House, in exchange for press floor privileges for the organization’s political hacks. 
  • That back-room conversation may have created an unregistered political action committee in violation of state law. 
  • That is illegal and it violates multiple sections of Chapter 253, Texas Election Code. 
  • These discussions also occurred during the fundraising moratorium and inside the Speaker’s office in the Texas Capitol. 
  • Further, Speaker Bonnen has admitted to making incendiary remarks, but has yet to disclose exactly what these remarks entail. Michael Quinn Sullivan has refused to release the tape, but has repeatedly confirmed these actions took place. 

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Texans deserve to know what happens in their government on their dime, and that elected officials are getting their job done, not scheming to abuse power. That is why today, the Texas Democratic Party and State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos took legal action against dark money operative Michael Quinn Sullivan in an effort to hold him and co-conspirator Speaker Dennis Bonnen accountable for potential campaign finance violations of the Texas Election Code. 

“Texans are fed up with back-room deals and unaccountable politicians who put the pursuit of power over everything. These accounts of Speaker Bonnen and Republican Chair Burrow’s comments show they don’t give a damn about the needs of Texans or the respect due to their fellow members elected by the people. To add insult to injury, it has become clear that Speaker Bonnen made demeaning and bigoted comments about duly-elected Democratic members of the Texas House. His derogatory comments not only show a serious lack of judgment and leadership, they show a lack of respect for women, the LGBT community, and the Jewish community.”

Click here to view the petition and request for production filed with the Travis County District Court.