LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas House made a statement on Friday concerning the investigation of a meeting between Lubbock lawmaker Dustin Burrows, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and political activist Michael Q. Sullivan.
Sullivan made allegations that he was offered press credentials in exchange for negative press coverage of certain Republicans. Bonnen and Burrows denied it. Sullivan then said he secretly recorded his meeting in June with Bonnen and Burrows in Austin.
The recording was released on Tuesday. Related Story: Secret recording of Lubbock lawmaker, Texas Speaker released
After Sullivan went public, but before the audio was released, the House General Investigating Committee asked Texas Rangers to investigate.
On Friday, a statement said, “Patricia Gray, a former Democratic member of the House; Will F. Hartnett, a former Republican member of the House; and Thomas R. Phillips, the former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, will serve as legal advisors to the committee.”
“After the Rangers deliver their final report to the committee, the panel of legal advisors will review the report and the supporting evidence with the committee members,” the statement said, “and advise the committee on the most appropriate next steps.”
Also on Friday, Mayor Dan Pope was critical of Bonnen and Burrows.
The Texas House General Investigating Committee’s full statement is posted below.
October 18, 2019
The House Committee on General Investigating has retained a bi-partisan expert panel of legal advisors to assist the committee in connection with its August 2019 request for an investigation by the Texas Rangers into the facts and circumstances surrounding a June 12, 2019 meeting between Michael Quinn Sullivan and Representatives Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows. Patricia Gray, a former Democratic member of the House; Will F. Hartnett, a former Republican member of the House; and Thomas R. Phillips, the former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, will serve as legal advisors to the committee during the committee’s review of the Rangers’ investigative report. Short biographies of the expert panel follow this statement.
“My colleagues on the committee and I have consistently said that any investigation must follow the facts and the evidence without regard to political consideration,” said Committee Chairman Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas. “This bi-partisan panel will aid the committee in evaluating the final evidence solely on legal considerations. Each member of the panel is recognized for their legal expertise and judgment, and we are grateful that they are willing to again serve the public in this capacity.”
“Due to heightened public interest, my colleagues and I want to ensure transparency in this critical matter remains consistent with the constitutional guarantees of due process,” said Committee Vice Chairwoman Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth. “And, while the committee does not ordinarily make public statements on its actions during the course of an investigation, it is crucial that the House of Representatives and the public have continued confidence in the committee’s work.”
After the Rangers deliver their final report to the committee, the panel of legal advisors will review the report and the supporting evidence with the committee members and advise the committee on the most appropriate next steps.