Texas Lawmakers Hope to Outlaw Undercover Reporting Before Video Investigation Goes Public
Texas state Senator Paul Bettencourt is hoping to fast-track legislation that would outlaw one-party consent in undercover investigations.
The Republican lawmaker pushed the legislation yesterday in committee that would outlaw undercover investigations.
A conservative group calling itself “investigative journalists” has been following — and secretly videotaping — Texas state legislators for six months in a bid to expose “hypocrisy,” a spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
The American Phoenix Foundation hired 16 people to confront and tape lawmakers in and around the Texas Capitol, said John Beria.
“We wanted to send a team down to Austin that would document some of the moral failings and hypocrisy of some of the legislators and lobbyists — and Austin culture in general,” Beria said. “Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, whatever — it doesn’t matter what label they wear. We just want to find the hypocrites.”
Last week, Department of Public Safety officers stopped members of the “Phoenix” investigative team for questioning after receiving complaints by House members of harassment. No arrests were made. DPS spokesman Tom Vinger, asked about the incident, said, “DPS does not discuss security-related matters.”
Team members have stopped lawmakers in Capitol hallways to ask pointed questions, both about hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration but also in some cases about their sex lives. In one instance, an unidentified member of the team confronted a House lawmaker and his wife at an Austin restaurant, according to a senior Capitol aide.