Hey, remember State Rep. Bob Helm’s (R-ALEC) star turn in a hidden-camera video? The one recorded at an American Legislative Exchange Council meeting at a tony Savannah resort?
The one where he happily acknowledged that his expenses had been comped by lobbyists? And further, that he had solicited lobbyist donations for other lawmakers to attend the conference?
Yeah, well, the video has gotten another airing on Atlanta’s Channel 11, which has done a follow-up to its earlier piece on the toxic combo platter of lobbyists, lawmakers, big money and secrecy that characterizes an ALEC conference. This time, investigative reporter Brendan Keefe documented ALEC’s inadequate and misleading response to his original report. He used the opportunity to re-air some absolutely wonderful footage of his encounters with ALEC officials and his ultimate eviction from the hotel — where he was a paying guest — by uniformed sheriff’s deputies doing security for ALEC.
The video is recommended viewing. But here’s a transcript of a key passage, in which Keefe tries to interview a guy who ought to be prepared for such an eventuality — ALEC’s Vice President of Communications, Bill Meierling. The encounter takes place in the opulent lobby of the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel, and Meierling’s obvious discomfiture at being buttonholed by a persistent reporter is just wonderful.
Keefe: Can we do an interview with you?
Meierling: Actually, no.
K: Why not?
M: Um, if you’ll please turn the camera off.