Dennis Bonnen Won’t Face Criminal Charges For Offering Deal To Conservative Activist

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Rhonda FanningOctober 25, 2019 2:10 pm,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced this week that he will not seek reelection in 2020 to his seat in the House.

The announcement came days after the release of a secret recording of Bonnen offering media credentials to the conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan. Bonnen had asked Sullivan to target 10 House Republicans running for reelection in 2020. Bonnen’s political career has been consumed by the scandal, Ramshaw says. 

“He has really been upended by this scandal that I believe is really going to plague his legacy,” she says.

But Bonnen won’t face criminal charges for his offer to Sullivan. The district attorney in Brazoria County, where he lives, determined that there was not enough evidence to warrant such charges. 

Ramshaw says waning support from fellow Republicans was an important factor in Bonnen deciding to leave office.  

“You saw him fighting and fighting, and at the end of the day the tipping point was five of his close lieutenants, top committee chairs, basically said they couldn’t support him either,” she says. “At that point, rather than try to fight it out, you say, I’m going to be a lame duck; I’m going to ride out the rest of my term and then I’m going to step down.”

Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are intervening in a custody battle over a 7-year-old child in North Texas whose mother says is transgender. The father is trying to prevent the child’s gender transition, which the mother supports. At that age, transition does not involve surgery or medical intervention. In a tweet, Abbott said he is directing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Attorney General’s Office to investigate the mother for child abuse. 

“This is a move that has really alarmed parents of transgender kids who already are a pretty fearful community,” Ramshaw says. 


Written by Libby Cohen.