Wednesday, May 20, 2015

American Phoenix, the group behind the Lege secret videos

American Phoenix Foundation was the organization behind the clandestine videos of Texas legislators revealed earlier this month.  Hannah Giles and Joseph Basel are the -- well, sounds like maybe former -- conservative activists that organized APF, originally designed to expose corrupt public officials on one side of the aisle... but evolved into both sides (to hear them tell it).  As background, Giles was the "hooker" in James O'Keefe's 2009 ACORN sting video; Basel was the "telephone repairman" arrested for trying to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's offices in another 2010 O'Keefe sting operation.  They have dissolved their relationship with O'Keefe for this new venture.  The source of their funding remains undisclosed by them, however.

RG Ratcliffe at Texas Monthly has burned the "report, decide" shoe leather here for us.  Excerpts...

RGR: You’ve talked about wanting to disrupt the narrative. So what is the narrative of the Texas Legislature that you want to disrupt?

HG: One of the biggest things I’ve personally seen is little old ladies that organize and cheer-lead for certain politicians and they think, “Oh they are the greatest and they’re going to go to Texas and represent us.” And then being in Austin and having people who’ve worked in the Capitol and keeping an ear to the ground, I tell people, “No, that politician is just not a good person. They’re not who you think they are.” That person is in Austin partying, and first of all not a Christian like they think – which is fine; we don’t care – but it is just the hypocrisy of representing themselves one way to their constituents and then acting a totally different way, filing bills that aren’t consistent with things they’ve said they’d do.”


RGR: Is “progressive Republicans” just another way to say Republicans in Name Only, RINOs?

HG: What I was trying to explain or get people fired up about is they are all, “Rah, rah, Republicans are doing what’s right!” And I’m, No, not necessarily. I look at both parties as a political class. I don’t see a lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats now that I see what’s going on at the Capitol.”


HG: I’ve changed a lot. I became very disillusioned with the conservative movement after all my ACORN stuff. Philosophically and politically, I’ve evolved a lot.

RGR: Why did you become disillusioned?

JB: It was the enemy of my enemy is my friend problem. All the good right-wingers were: “She took down ACORN and they’re leftist, so we like her.” They probably invited us into the back rooms way too quick. What we saw there made us so cynical of the American right that we have no country in that sense.

We're all anxious to see what they have on tape, and whether it is legitimately bad news for Texas legislators or just more sophomoric antics on the part of bored millennials.

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