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.
Asked later, if he was troubled by the confrontations, Liam said no, and he referenced the old “sticks and stones” saying.
“It’s pretty all right,” he said.
In a later conversation with the Statesman, Liam was not very forthcoming about his work at the Capitol.
“I’m just asking questions,” he said, “to see what their stances are on things.”
He also wouldn’t say if he worked for the American Phoenix Foundation.
“I just work for the people,” he said. “I don’t have anything else to say.”
Here’s a video of Liam talking about his work at the Capitol.