Monday, May 11, 2015

O'Keefe crony gives Lege tapes to Breitbart *update*

Texas Republicans, always in regression, are about to embark on yet another "RINO hunt".

A copy of more than 800 hours of video footage shot of Texas lawmakers by a nonprofit group tied to conservative causes has been turned over to Breitbart Texas, the news organization’s managing director, Brandon Darby, confirmed to The Texas Tribune late Sunday.

“Some of it is very newsworthy,” Darby said in a telephone interview.

Darby said the conservative news outlet has no plans to release the video made by staffers with the American Phoenix Foundation, an Austin activist group, until after the legislative session ends June 1 because he, his fellow Breitbart Texas staffers and their legal team have to go through all of it first.

“I don’t really think that something like this coming out during the ending of the legislative session is helpful to the state at all,” Darby said.

Ain't that the truth.  One thing you can surmise: if they have any video of Democrats acting like Republicans, then they probably don't think they have anything "newsworthy".  Despite bipartisan contentions, these clandestine videos -- I will predict -- will be of Texas House Republicans of the Joe Straus variety.  And they will be used in GOP primary elections by the TeaBagger/Operation Jade Helm faction to get a more conservative caucus elected in 2016.

But hey, I could be wrong.

Last week, it was revealed that people working for the American Phoenix Foundation had followed and recorded Texas legislators. The American Phoenix videographers would often stop lawmakers, asking them questions about their positions on policy and votes, all the while videoing them using secret cameras.

The group is led by Joseph Basel, who told the Tribune in email on Sunday that the group had turned over a copy of the video to Breitbart Texas.

“Darby has a copy of what's been collected to date,” wrote Basel, who is listed as American Phoenix Foundation’s president on his group’s tax returns. “We want to give entire copies of archives to other trusted media outlets in the future after the project comes to completion.”

Basel said Breitbart has not been an “advisor, backer or investor” in the group’s project.

Where have we heard Basel's name mentioned previously?  Ohhhh yeah.  More...

Basel said the group’s filming of Texas lawmakers began in December to expose what he says is the hypocrisy of both Republicans and Democratic politicians in Austin who fail to live up to their campaign rhetoric, both on and off the floor.

Although several lawmakers have reported that they were asked by American Phoenix undercover videographers about their support of House Speaker Joe Straus, the group insists it is not focused on Straus’ leadership, but instead on members in the House and Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, who have reneged on their campaign stances or moral pronouncements.

Was there something... sexual?

It has been alleged by the Basel’s group that they have captured evidence of personal indiscretions by lawmakers — something Darby alluded to on Sunday.

“Just to speak in general terms, I do think that if somebody sells themselves to the people as being a big family values guy and a family guy, I think there is a problem coming to Austin and having sex with people who are not their wives and sometimes in public places and I think that’s a bit of a problem,” Darby said.

Now that could be a bipartisan development.  Naturally it fell to the real security forces in the state Capitol building -- lobbyists -- to enforce the 'law', or something.

A young man, who identified himself as John Liam, spoke to a few lobbyists and a journalist or two on Friday about the recent news relating to a nonprofit that claims to have 800 hours of secretly recorded footage of Capitol antics. The conversations were not always civil.

Outside of the Texas House chamber, several people demanded answers from Liam. They wanted to know if he worked for the American Phoenix Foundation, which was revealed earlier this week as an organization that has been collecting footage of political action (from inside and outside of the Capitol) that would, as a group spokesman said, show hypocrisy and nefarious behavior of lawmakers and lobbyists. Liam didn’t give specific answers.

Read the original Statesman story here.
Liam remained calm and seemingly unfazed by the questioning from Capitol insiders, which grew heated at times. He never revealed any specific information.

Lobbyist Steve Bresnen confronted Liam outside and wanted to know if he was secretly recording conversations in the lobby. Sticking with the theme, Liam wouldn’t answer.

Bresnen then asked who paid him. No answer.

Growing more irritated Bresnen said he, as a lobbyist, reports his clients to the state. He then again challenged Liam to divulge his employer.

“Be a man, man,” Bresnen said.

Liam clearly had been studying the players in the Texas Capitol. He knew the names and faces of lawmakers and lobbyists; he even knew that Bresnen’s wife was about to graduate from law school.

Liam also knew lobbyist Snapper Carr, who showed up on the scene with his camera phone in his hand as Bresnen was demanding answers. Liam explained that Carr’s photo was in a lobbyist directory. He also told Carr the he knew his wife’s name. The lobbyist responded by practically daring Liam to say her name again. Liam didn’t.

This is only beginning to get good.  Don't touch that dial.

Update:  Dan Patrick had to be involved somewhere.

A senior staffer in Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's office knew lawmakers were being secretly videotaped by a conservative nonprofit, but did not make senators aware because it did not involve anyone in the upper chamber.

The Texas Department of Public Safety briefed Patrick Chief of Staff Logan Spence on the videotaping previous to the story breaking last week, Patrick spokesman Alejandro Garcia confirmed Monday. Spence did not ask DPS to brief the full Senate, however, because no senators were believed to have been targeted by the group.

Yep, those are Patrick's fingerprints.  He's going after Straus, and the speaker's teammates.  And you know what how the saying goes (long before there was a Game of Thrones): "if you strike at the king, you must kill him."

We don't know yet whether Patrick swung and missed, but we ought to soon.


Gadfly said...

If it is sexual, does it involve Charles Perry? Was Patrick trying to protect him?

PDiddie said...

In the update (excerpt at end) Patrick's CoS asked DPS not to brief any senators because none of them were involved in the tapings. Allegedly.