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April 21, 2017      6:08 PM

Updated: Judge says Basel will spend weekends in jail unless American Phoenix founder releases financials

Judge says Basel has showed “no good faith effort” to comply with court order to release financials; Basel’s wife, Hannah Giles, asks Bresnen “Do you just want the donor?”

An increasingly frustrated state district court judge in Austin on Friday told the American Phoenix Foundation’s founder Joe Basel that he will soon begin spending every weekend in jail until he produces the group’s financial information. The foundation, QR readers will recall, is the group that clandestinely filmed lawmakers and others at the Texas Capitol and other locations around Austin during the 2015 session.  

“I don’t want you to go to jail. I want you to comply with the court’s order,” Judge Karin Crump told Basel, pretty much repeating exactly what she had told him three weeks ago.

Basel is in violation of a court order to release the financials of the foundation after he was sued by attorney and veteran lobbyist Steve Bresnen, who has argued that under longstanding Texas law, a nonprofit with no members is required to release its financials if asked by a member of the public.

A judge agreed and ordered Basel to release the information, but he continues to argue that his donors will be harassed if he complies.

During a break in the court action, Basel’s wife Hannah Giles asked Bresnen whether he would drop the suit.

By Scott Braddock

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