Texas House Speaker under scrutiny after secret recording released

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The Texas House Speaker is under scrutiny for comments he made at a June meeting inside the State Capitol in Austin.

The recording was released to the public Tuesday and some Texas lawmakers are talked about in disparaging terms.

"And let's go after these Republicans. That and I'm not kidding when it comes to 2020 if we're successful and we gain maybe one or two or three Republican seats we beat some of these liberal pieces of [expletive delted]," said Dennis Bonnen, current Speaker of the House and Republican Representative from District 25 in Southeast Texas.

The secret recording includes Bonnen, a GOP political activist named Michael Quinn Sullivan and then-House GOP Caucus Chair Dustin Burrows. The hour long conversation hits close to home for some area lawmakers.

The group talks about legislation several of our local state representatives voted against, which would have limited cities from hiring lobbyists to represent them in the Legislature. Those named in the recording including State Representatives John Raney, Kyle Kacal and Trent Ashby.

"If I still have the same ten moderate Republicans who don’t want to help on anything I’m still unable to do what you and I would want done," said Bonnen in the recording. "And then maybe not even more what you would want done. Ok? And that’s a monumental shift," he said.

"I would love to have that list," Sullivan can also be heard saying in the recording.

"Obviously I cannot condone the actions of Speaker Bonnen or Chairman Burrows and I look forward to the report of the Public Integrity Unit of the Texas Rangers to see what they determine," said State Representative John Raney, the Republican from District 14.

Raney met with KBTX late Tuesday afternoon.

"I’m not familiar enough to know that anything like this has ever taken place. I just don’t know," said Raney. "I don’t believe that’s the way things should be done at all but things do happen. And at this point we need to measure where we are," he said.

Representative Kyle Kacal said Tuesday he still hasn't heard all the recording but wants to talk more about it with us in the next few days. Earlier this summer Speaker Bonnen apologized for taking a meeting with the conservative activist Sullivan who is with Empower Texans.

If you'd like to hear the full conversation we have it attached in the related link section of this story.