How much bacon-wrapped shrimp do you expect to get at a $10,000 per plate dinner?
That's the question Texas voters and tax payers are asking today after learning that Speaker Dennis Bonnen recently hosted a very expensive dinner party for anyone willing to cough up tens of thousands of dollars to have access to our state's Republican party leadership.
Just got back from filming, taking pictures, and watching with several others.
I put energy into this because I think it important that the voters of HD 25 in Brazoria and Matagorda Counties know about this.
There are three reasons why this should interest them:
1) It raises the question of who Dennis Bonnen will listen to - the $10K donors mostly from outside the district, or the voters of HD 25?
2) It lets everyone know that Bonnen is happy to interact and hear from people outside the district - IF they bring a big check. But not if they are supporting Boot Bonnen or Rhonda Seth, his primary opponent.
3) Finally, it is a big part of the proof that when a district rep becomes speaker, the district loses a rep. The speaker rarely votes, and he thinks he needs to take care of and listen to the entire state, instead of his district.
As to a report on what happened, writing this for you, first. The speaker and his wife were there. The invitation said that only 20 slots were available. The team of watchers did not see that many people show between 6 and 7:30 pm while we were watching. (The event went until 9 pm, so those coming in from out of town may have arrived later. See on the invitation that tonight was more of a social, and the meeting part will be at the Courtyard Marriott Lake Jackson tomorrow morning.
Just beginning to do my research, but found this last night:
Based on a license plate and a search on TEC, it looks like one of the attendees was Steven Kean, CEO of pipeline company, Kinder Morgan, and resident of River Oaks in Houston.
I listened to testimony in the 2019 session from lots of land owners around the state who were very upset about the treatment they received from pipeline companies (including Kinder Morgan)
The most substantive bill that I know of in trying to balance the interests of the pipeline companies against land owners was SB 421 by Lois Kolkhorst. It passed both the Senate and House in different versions and then died in conference committee in the end game. The House chair of the conferees was Rep. Craddick of Midland who was hostile to the bill. Kinder Morgan was building a key pipeline from Midland to the Gulf Coast through the Hill Country. The people in the Hill Country were not happy.
Guess who appointed Craddick as conferee? (Hint: Dennis Bonnen!)
I am not picking on Mr. Kean. I am sure that his board and shareholders thought this evening's contribution to be a good investment.