Who Has the Secret Audio of Texas House Speaker Meeting, Rick Perry's Instagram Gaffe, Dallas Mayor Has a New Job

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Austin1. As pressure mounted for political activist Michael Quinn Sullivan to release the secret recording of his meeting with the Texas House speaker, in which he alleges the politician offered him an illegal quid pro quo, Sullivan said Monday he had turned it over to the Texas Rangers.The Rangers are investigating a June 12 meeting of Sullivan, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, in which Sullivan alleges the lawmakers offered writers for his website, Texas Scorecard, media credentials if he and his affiliated political group, Empower Texans, refrained from criticizing the legislative session and targeted a list of 10 Republican incumbents. Sullivan secretly recorded the meeting and has let a select group of people listen to the audio.2. Bonnen and Burrows have denied the allegations, and Burrows resigned as chairman of the House GOP Caucus. He has said the recording of the meeting, which he said he attended in an effort to protect the Republican majority, should be released. "I went in there in good faith, and I'll tell ya, he didn't have the best of intentions," Burrows said. But his comments at a State Republican Executive Committee meeting in June will likely prove a Rorschach test in the controversy over the secret meeting, with Sullivan's supporters seizing on them as a motive for the "target list" and the lawmakers' supporters seeing them as proof of this good faith effort.3. Top Texas leaders charged with responding to the El Paso mass shooting held a far-reaching discussion on gun safety and community security, including instituting "welfare checks" on suspicious individuals. Recapping the first meeting of his Texas Safety Commission, Gov. Greg Abbott said its members talked about everything from cracking down on stolen guns and straw purchases to enforcing existing laws that bar domestic abusers and others from having firearms.4. The day after the meeting, El Paso Democrats took to Twitter to collectively blast Abbott for a tweet containing what they called "dangerous" rhetoric about immigrant children. "Our community is trying to heal from racially driven violence. This hurts. It is dangerous," all six members of El Paso delegation tweeted Friday afternoon, adding the hashtags "ElPasoStrong," "LoveWillWin" and "Unity."Bob's breakdownBob Garrett is the Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A fifth-generation Texan, he has covered state government and politics for decades. Here, Bob offers his take from the Capitol. Gov. Greg Abbott is known to have problems going to sleep. While battling insomnia, he can do surprising things. Take the reply Abbott tweeted at 1:17 a.m. Friday to a possibly fake Twitter account purporting to be a teacher. "I teach illegals all day long in public schools," user @AJ91574287 asked Abbott. "Why are my tax dollars paying for illegals to be educated?" Citing a 37-year-old case, Abbott responded that "5 liberals on the Supreme Court" ruled Texas couldn't get out of paying for the education of children of unauthorized immigrants. He didn't use the term "illegals." But the governor lamented how a decade later, federal courts "rejected our lawsuit that the federal government should pay for that education cost." Just to be clear, he was not attorney general in the 1990s. The "our" meant the state's effort. But his comments struck a nerve. Hours earlier, Abbott huddled with El Paso Democrats and other members of his new Texas Safety Commission that seeks to prevent more mass shootings such as the one in El Paso in which the shooter railed against a "Hispanic invasion of Texas." All six El Paso lawmakers tweeted condemnation of Abbott's remarks as "dangerous." Dallas Democratic Rep. Victoria Neave asked Abbott how he could "spew Trump-style rhetoric that bullies innocent kids. Pick on someone your own size, Governor." Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, wryly observed, "This tweet actually has audio, but the pitch is so high only dogs can hear it!" A spokesman said Abbott merely responded to a question he's frequently asked, and "his answer was a matter of fact." Yep. Just your usual 1 a.m. Q&A at the mansion. Points from the trail1. As the dog days of summer end, fall brings cooler weather and more intensity to an already drama-filled political season. Texas is one of the most interesting battlegrounds in the country, and next year we'll see if Republicans still dominate statewide politics, or if Democrats have emerged from the wilderness.The answer involves Donald Trump, as 2020 will be a referendum on his presidency and a barometer for candidates up and down the ballot.Gromer Jeffers Jr. has three questions to consider as the unofficial start of the political season arrives.2. The pastor at a Central Texas church that was the site of a mass shooting in 2017 will run for state Senate against a Democrat who's held the seat for more than 30 years. Frank Pomeroy, a Republican, announced after Sunday morning services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs that he's challenging Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. He had a "burning bush moment" in which he decided to run, Pomeroy said, after reading the Bible, praying, and consulting with "several godly people."1. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the Texan who oversees the nation's nuclear arsenal, took to Instagram on Wednesday with a very serious update on how exactly the social media network could use the content he posts to his account, @governorperry. Among the Perry wit and wisdom now eligible for Instagram to "publish, distribute and/or sell":Pictures of dachshunds. George Strait lyrics. Pies "baked and possibly eaten in or near Round Top," where Perry lives when he's not in D.C. The "real truth behind Area 51." And oh yeah, more pictures of dachshunds. Perry's bit of humor came after he fell victim to an Internet hoax.2. The luster has come off the "golden visa," the immigrant investor program that's injected hundreds of millions of dollars into Texas development projects in recent years. President Donald Trump is reining in the program -- typically called EB-5, in reference to its visa classification -- in the wake of longstanding complaints that it's ripe for fraud and riddled with loopholes large enough to distort its original purpose.Points from Dallas  Continue reading...

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