Michael Quinn Sullivan

Power Company

Jan 20, 2013 By Paul Burka, Patricia Hart and Nate Blakeslee

As we head into the most critical legislative session in decades—maybe ever—the question is not just, Who are the people with the most clout at the Capitol? It’s also, What do they want?

Toxic Mike

Dec 11, 2012 By Paul Burka

Last week Michael Quinn Sullivan posted a story on the Empower Texans web site headlined “Toxic Joe.” The reference, of course, is to Joe Straus, the speaker of the House, whom Sullivan has tried to remove from power, with nothing to show for his efforts. The Sullivan-imposed nickname…

Conservatives continue push for winner-take-all primary

Apr 7, 2012 By Paul Burka

The Texas Eagle Forum has upped the ante for the May 29 Texas presidential primary. Five prominent conservatives have signed a TEF e-mail headlined “Texas’ role in choosing the president.” It calls for a winner-take-all Republican presidential primary, rather than awarding the state’s 155 delegates based on proportionality, as stipulated…

Times v. Sullivan

Apr 4, 2012 By Paul Burka

Maybe the times are a-changin’ in the Texas House if legislators are willing to challenge Michael Quinn Sullivan. Win or lose, the ethics complaints lodged against Sullivan by two committee chairs, Vicki Truitt and Jim Keffer, are a shot across the bow and an indication that Sullivan’s detractors are not…

Seliger calls out Michael Quinn Sullivan

Dec 5, 2011 By Paul Burka

The Amarillo state senator published an op-ed piece in the Midland Reporter-Telegram on Sunday called “Who Will Watch the Watchers,” in which he criticizes Sullivan for what he calls “fraudulent misrepresentation of voting records” by him and his “misnamed special interest group,” Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Sullivan…

Sullivan blames lawmakers for Perry’s wasteful program

Sep 24, 2011 By Paul Burka

Self-appointed fiscal watchdog Michael Quinn Sullivan blasted legislators  yesterday (9/23) for a spending program that allows the state to attract and subsidize Hollywood filmmakers who wish to make movies in Texas. I find myself in rare agreement with Mr. Sullivan on this point. When I wrote a story about cutting the budget last October, I zeroed out the Film Commission. Sullivan based his post on the Empower Texans web site on a Wall Street Journal story. Here is the lead for his article: While other states have come to their senses about subsidizing Hollywood, Texas’ lawmakers continue pumping taxpayer cash into a scheme of dubious value to Texans and our economy. The Wall Street Journal reports today that states are halting the subsidies as they find footing the bill for films isn’t as glamorous as the latte-liberals in the film industry would have us all believe. There is one problem with Sullivan's analysis. Film subsidies in Texas, while they are included in the state budget that lawmakers vote on, are not really proposed by the Legislature.

A response to Michael Quinn Sullivan

Jun 29, 2011 By Paul Burka

Michael Quinn Sullivan has a bone to pick with me. I am the subject of a blog post by Sullivan published on the Empower Texans web site yesterday under the headline, “Texas Monthly: Disclosure-Free Zone.” Sullivan objects to the fact that in an April column about higher ed reforms, I did not disclose that I have taught at UT from time to time. Here are some pertinent paragraphs: Paul Burka, the “senior executive editor” at Texas Monthly has taken to defending the higher education status quo – skyrocketing tuition and a lack of transparency. He follows the administrative bureaucracy party line by deriding reformers, disparaging them and calling motivations into question. Couldn’t be because he has a financial interest in the status quo, could it? Mr. Burka received $10,159 in compensation ($9,295 in salary) for teaching 13 students. (NOTE: the numbers are from UT’s own data, which the institution says may or may not be valid or accurate.) He hasn’t disclosed in any recent writings supporting the higher-ed establishment that he is a “visiting lecturer” for the University of Texas, teaching a three credit-hour class – ironically titled “Right And Wrong In Politics.” Mr. Sullivan has a point, though he overplays it to a ridiculous extreme, as is his custom. I should have included a parenthetical statement in that April column saying that I had taught at UT on various occasions in the past (though I was not teaching there or receiving compensation at the time that I wrote the column). But it is far-fetched to suggest that I have any permanent attachment to UT, or a financial motivation to defend the university. I am not an academic, I am a journalist. Over the past twenty years or so, I have been fortunate enough to teach courses at UT (and also at St. Edwards). During that time, I have written several editorial columns about the university. One was supportive of tuition deregulation; one was critical of a watered-down degree program I referred to as “B.A. Lite” (this one, alas, is not yet available online). I have not tried to hide the fact that I teach at UT; in 2001, for example, I wrote about volunteering to evaluate applications for admission to the Plan II honors program, as I was eligible to do as an instructor. I have also written a skeptical column about the athletic department’s efforts to find a home for the Longhorns after the breakup of the Big XII conference. In short, I choose subjects that Texas Monthly believes are important, and I try to call ‘em as I see ‘em. I leave it to readers to judge for themselves whether they believe that my reporting on UT is influenced by what Mr. Sullivan refers to as my “financial interest in the status quo,” or whether it reflects my strongly held personal belief in the importance of allowing state universities to pursue excellence free of political interference.

Meeting today could clarify speaker’s race

Nov 9, 2010 By Paul Burka

A meeting is scheduled this afternoon at the building occupied by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It is probably taking place as I write. My information is that representatives of Straus and some of his adversaries, including Michael Quinn Sullivan, are having discussions that could result in the shaping of…

Empower Texas endorses House members

Jan 25, 2010 By Paul Burka

This is the taxpayer advocacy headed up by self-appointed Republican enforcer Michael Quinn Sullivan. All of the endorsements went to Republicans. I am not publishing the full list of endorsements. It includes Kolkhorst, Taylor, Zerwas, P. King, Phillips, Crownover, Madden, Smithee, Chisum, Branch, Harless, and W. Smith, and a lot…