Tue May 19, 2015 1:42 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe


APF WatchersAs the American Phoenix Foundation completed its hidden-camera investigation of legislators, it dispatched four employees to ask pointed questions of legislators. At times, the lawmakers claimed the questioners were harassing them and frightening women legislators. They also frustrated mainstream journalists by refusing to identify themselves. Because of their demeanor, dress and close-cropped haircuts, many in the lobby believed they were ex-military operatives. Foundation managers Hannah Giles and Joseph Basel assured me that these men I call The Watchers were not some sort of special forces team brought in to intimidate lawmakers.


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Tue May 19, 2015 1:34 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe

In his Townhall.com column from this past weekend, Doug Giles proclaimed that the investigation his daughter Hannah and her husband Joseph Basel are conducting of the Texas Legislature is going to upset the status quo.

Which brings me to this point about this forthcoming expose for those of us of a conservative persuasion: Maybe, the reason we continue to scratch our head regarding why the Right so often sides with the Left on policy issues is maybe… just maybe… our rep’s are blackmailable based upon all the booty they’re tappin’ other than their wives? Who knows? We shall see.

Finally, my advice to the Texas Corrupt-O-Crats who’ve been ridin’ dirty on the Texas taxpayers’ dime is: You’d better get your house in order because it’s about to collapse … as in big time.

But the husband and wife activist/journalist team say they are not trying to knock out Joe Straus as House speaker or to alter the House’s balance of power.


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Tue May 19, 2015 1:27 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe

At the height of her conservative heroism, The Los Angeles Times described her as delivering a “guerrilla warfare” speech to the Young America’s Foundation in Santa Barbara, describing how to “take down liberal organizations and expose what she called media corruption.” Quoting Republican strategist, Giles told the audience: “Above all, attack, attack, attack. Never defend.”  Giles told me that since that speech she has become disillusioned with the organized conservative movement.


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Tue May 19, 2015 1:17 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe



On March 10, 2012, Hannah Giles was among the featured speakers at a rally of the Faith & Freedom Coalition at the Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land. It was described as a kick-off event for the Texas primary “filled with great speakers and loaded with fantastic information about getting our Conservative Christian Candidates elected. Giles spoke to the rally about her creation of the American Phoenix Foundation. Watch and listen above, or read the transcript after the jump.


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Tue May 19, 2015 9:49 am By By R.G. Ratcliffe

As you’ll recall, last month we had a blow-up where Transportation Committee Chair Joe Pickett ejected Representative Jonathan Stickland from his committee because people signed up to testify on Stickland’s bill banning red-light cameras who were not even in Austin. Stickland announced today that the Texas Rangers have cleared him of any involvement in the incident.

“Late Friday I spoke with one of the rangers assigned to the case,” said Trey Trainor, outside legal counsel for Stickland and his staff. “I was told that the investigation was over and that I would not be hearing from DPS anymore.”

DPS officers met with Stickland and his staff and interviewed them related to a criminal investigation of violations of the penal code. Those meetings concluded on Thursday and DPS promptly closed the case the next day.

“The officer said they had taken the evidence gathered by DPS to the DA’s Office and the district attorney was not interested in taking the case,” added Trainor. “We have said since the beginning that there were no violations of the law or violations of House rules, and I am glad that law enforcement agreed.”