• September 21, 2019

TEXAS VIEW: Eventually, Rep. Burrows will have to end silence - Odessa American: Texas Opinion

e-Edition Subscribe

TEXAS VIEW: Eventually, Rep. Burrows will have to end silence

THE POINT: A time will come when what happened in a June meeting will get sorted out.

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 2:30 am

After several weeks of speculation and sustained silence, State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) announced last Friday that he was resigning as chairman of the Republican Caucus. The decision represents the first visible fallout from a meeting of Burrows, Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Michael Quinn Sullivan.

The full contours of that June 12 meeting in Austin have yet to be made public, despite Sullivan, the CEO of the hardline conservative political action group Empower Texans, indicating he had privately recorded the meeting. Thus far, Sullivan has not made the recording public, despite calls to do so from Bonnen, other lawmakers and media outlets.

Bonnen, who has had little to say about the matter, issued a brief statement Friday, saying Burrows “was a strong leader for the caucus. I respect his decision and I remain committed to strengthening our majority.”

The dispute, which continues to linger over the state’s Republican party as it ramps up for the 2020 elections, centers on Sullivan’s claim that during the meeting Bonnen offered Empower Texans media access to the House for the 2021 session if the group “targeted” 10 Republican members in the 2020 elections. Sullivan said Bonnen then left the room, and Burrows listed off the 10 members.

There has been much back and forth on this matter since it first became public, and throughout Burrows has been steadfast in making no public comment, declining media interview requests, canceling a handful of previously scheduled speaking engagements and reportedly frustrating several Republican colleagues along the way.

To be fair, a written statement from Bonnen said he had asked Burrows not to comment. For his part, Speaker Bonnen initially disputed Sullivan’s version of the meeting, but in the days since apologized for saying “terrible things” during the meeting.

Of course, that doesn’t mean everything is at a standstill. Far from it. Privately, other lawmakers have said Burrows, a three-term representative, has visited some of the people on the alleged list in what has been characterized as efforts of reconciliation. However, no one is going on the record about what’s transpiring.

The simmering controversy took a turn last week when the House Investigation Committee unanimously moved to bring the Texas Rangers in. That virtually ensures no public comments from those involved, and that is appropriate. Let the Rangers do their work and the investigation go wherever it must go.

Burrows’ decision to step down as caucus chair was likely made in the best interest of the party and Speaker Bonnen. Burrows emerged as a strong supporter of the speaker prior to the start of the 2019 session, and that support contributed to his ascendancy among House leadership. It seems logical that same quality is on display now.

This move, though, will not bring an end to the Sullivan-Bonnen matter. It is only the latest development in an ongoing saga. While there may be those hoping this issue simply fades away, that seems an improbable scenario as ethics violations involving Bonnen are part of an increasingly complicated mix.

The time may not be right yet for those involved to comment publicly as there are lots of moving parts and competing narratives in play, but eventually a time will come when what happened in that June meeting will get sorted out. It is at that point, we hope the silence will end, replaced by long-awaited answers.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Rain
71°
Humidity: 91%
Winds: S at 11mph
Feels Like: 71°

Your Extended Forecast

Tomorrow

weather
High 80°/Low 68°
Thunderstorms. Lows overnight in the upper 60s.

sunday

weather
High 87°/Low 69°
Morning clouds followed by afternoon sun. Highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 60s.

monday

weather
High 89°/Low 69°
Mix of sun and clouds. Highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 60s.
Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7670 to sign up today.