Lake Stoney, Ontario Maybe it’s not even news, but once again, yet another judge and jury has found rightwing scammer James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas guilty. It’s a drumbeat that won’t stop. They paid damages to ACORN employees in California who they hurt. O’Keefe and his confederates were found guilty for their office tampering in former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s federal facility. They were ordered to pay Stanford University $150,000 in legal fees for a defamation case they filed against the university that was tossed in 2021. One of O’Keefe’s top assistants filed suit in New York against Project Veritas for its sexually oppressive and harassing work environment recently. Two folks in Florida have been charged after taking money from Project Veritas for delivering information and seeking documents by lifting a diary left in an apartment by Biden’s daughter. Their litany of legal problems goes on and on as their misdeeds continue to multiply. This recitation doesn’t even count the number of times they have muffed up and been exposed for their preposterous pretense at claiming to be journalists.
This jury decision likely didn’t go far enough, but is sweet regardless. The long and short of the most recent beat down of Project Veritas dates back to 2016 and their infiltration of Democracy Partners, a political consultancy that largely focused on running and advising Democratic campaigns, and in this case had a small role in the Clinton campaign. O’Keefe’s crew created a fake donor who claimed he wanted to help and make a real contribution of $20,000. Mr. Fake proposed an illegal voter registration that the Partners refused to entertain because, well, simply enough, they told him it was illegal. On the other hand, he introduced them to his pretend-niece who they offered a position as an unpaid intern. As a secret agent for O’Keefe’s operation, she then stole a bunch of documents and wreaked havoc on the Partners. In this long-drawn-out legal aftermath of the damage done to the reputation and business of the Democracy Partners, who claimed they lost a half-million in contracts largely because of the publicity, the judge had already rejected their fake credentials as journalists and allowed the Partners to refer to the O’Keefe outfit as a “political spying operation.” The jury awarded $120,000, which was certainly not enough, but at least justice was done. Of course, O’Keefe will appeal. That’s also part of their standard operating procedure.
I saw this setback as especially nice, because I’ve known Bob Creamer, the principal partner in Democracy Partners, since the mid-1970s. Bob was a community organizer then. We shared the fact that we both had some connection to Louisiana. He was from Shreveport. I had lived and gone to high school in New Orleans. From different directions we had both ended up as organizers. He was working in Illinois and living in Chicago and stopped by ACORN’s Little Rock office to visit several times around various holidays when he was on his way to see his family in Shreveport. Later he got caught in a peculiar case that seemed based on a trivial mistake that became politicized in the hardball Illinois politics, but to his credit came back better by just putting his shoulder to the wheel and continuing to push. He reached out for me and offered to help after ACORN and I had taken incoming in 2008 around the Obama campaign, when many of our friends and allies were running the other way. He had been there and done that, so it was especially great to see him keep fighting until he won some justice this time from O’Keefe. It’s a lifelong mistake to mess with an organizer ever, even if they are called consultants now, and, as the song goes, it’s always a mistake to mess with a Louisiana man. We don’t know any other way than to keep working – and fighting!