Bonnen Tries to Give Back

Feb 1, 2020

When I first saw this story, I have to admit my initial thought was that Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen is trying to atone for the back-stabbing act he performed on 10 of his Republican House colleagues.

You recall that even, yes?. He took part in a meeting with Empower Texans chieftain Michael Quinn Sullivan and then offered to give Sullivan the names of his House colleagues so that Empower Texans – a staunch right-wing advocacy group – could target them for defeat later this year.

The meeting got out of hand. Sullivan secretly recorded the meeting, then blew the whistle on Bonnen, revealing to the whole state of what he did.

Bonnen took heavy fire from his legislative colleagues. Then he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election this year.

Now he’s giving money to seven of his Republican Texas House colleagues, including two from East Texas, Dan Flynn of Canton and Chris Paddie of Marshall.

Is the speaker trying to make it all up? Is he seeking to make amends?

He’s got a campaign stash of money that he figures he’s got to unload before he hightails back to private life at the end of the year.  

The contributions are coming from a political action committee Bonnen formed a year ago. It’s got $3 million tucked away.

Well, I figure it’s the least he could – or should – do, given the treachery he exhibited in meeting with Sullivan, then lying when he denied he did what Sullivan alleged he did.

I am one Texan who won’t miss the single-term Texas House speaker when he disappears from public view.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.