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Top Republican counsels against secret taping

After unconfirmed reports that House members were recording private conversations with colleagues, the Republican who oversees internal affairs in the chamber said he's asked members to refrain from any surreptitious taping.

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, chairman of the House Administration Committee, looks toward the gallery while House members watch severe weather during debate on May 25, 2015.

The top Republican who oversees internal affairs in the Texas House of Representatives said Tuesday that he has asked legislators in both parties not to record each other after hearing unconfirmed reports that some are taping private conversations.

Fort Worth Rep. Charlie Geren, who chairs the House Administration Committee, said there’s no rule against taping conversations in the House but that he is counseling them not to engage in it. He said he had not seen anyone recording fellow members on the floor and had no specific information about the identities of those supposedly doing it.

“I’ve asked members of both parties not to do it, but that doesn’t mean they can or cannot,” Geren told the Texas Tribune. “I don’t think it’s very professional, but if they do it, they do it.”

Geren added that he was "not going to accuse anybody." 

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said he knew of no Democrats taping members but had heard Republicans were taping other Republicans. No matter who’s doing it, he urged them to stop. 

“They should knock it off,” he said. “It’s not professional, and it’s not helpful to the legislative process.”

Two years ago legislators were on edge after a conservative group, the American Phoenix Foundation, began secretly recording House members. Backers of House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said at the time that the effort was aimed at undermining his leadership.

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State government 85th Legislative Session Charlie Geren Chris Turner Texas Legislature