Tag Archives: Project Veritas

O’Keefe, Dirty Tricks, and Spies

New Orleans       When you’re wrong, it’s best to spit it out and get it over, and, boy, have I been wrong about this one.  I keep saying that James O’Keefe and his so-called Project Veritas exploits are over and done.  His spy-boy antics are often ridiculous and ham-handed have been discredited from his first exploits with ACORN through NPR, NEA, Planned Parenthood all the way to the Keystone Cops effort to tap the phones of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in a federal building that landed him and his clown crew in the pokey.  I’ve written the obit for his career of clueless capers over and over, and like a bad penny, he and his mess pop up again, seemingly bigger and badder than ever.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m right about O’Keefe.  I’m wrong about the acceptable limits of American politics on the radical conservative rightwing of Trump and his people.

Rather than his pretend journalism and film operation, Project Veritas getting smaller, it’s swimming in cash slipped both under and over the table.  Reflected by their IRS 990 filings they have grown to over $8 million in donations and contributions.  That number makes it possible for O’Keefe to make around $400,000 a year, so he can knock on the door of the one-percent that he is working so hard to advance.

Now he’s hooked up with Eric Prince of Blackwater infamous from Katrina to Iraq and thoroughly discredited, but another bad penny who keeps reappearing in one bizarre way or another.  In Prince’s case it’s important to remember that being rich and highly connected helps.  He is billionaire Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ brother and an heir as well to their father’s fortune.  According to the New York Times, Prince is working with O’Keefe to take their spy-boy game up a notch with real ex-spies.

Prince appears to have become interested in using former spies to train Project Veritas operatives in espionage tactics sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign. Reaching out to several intelligence veterans — and occasionally using Mr. Seddon to make the pitch — Mr. Prince said he wanted the Project Veritas employees to learn skills like how to recruit sources and how to conduct clandestine recordings, among other surveillance techniques.

Believe me, you can’t make this stuff up.  The O’Keefe/PV crew visited Prince’s Wyoming ranch for training and to shoot guns, allowing O’Keefe to pretend PV was on its way to being a great intelligence operation.  (As an aside, why can’t my birth state of Wyoming ever catch a break, but thank goodness for Kanye!)

As always, the O’Keefe Krewe got caught.  One of their spies tried to infiltrate a former CIA’s successful race for Congress as a volunteer.  Another illegally snuck around a teachers’ local union in Michigan, Prince and DeVos original home state, and made PV the subject of a $3 million suit by the American Federation of Teachers.

I’ve learned my lesson.  This won’t be the end of O’Keefe and his dirty tricks operation.  He has friends in high places in the White House now, and this is the kind of stuff they seem to eat like candy.  I guess anything is now possible, and there are no off limits anymore.  I need to catch up to modern political life.  There are no lines to cross it seems.  In Trump world those lines are all in the rearview mirror, and it’s the O’Keefe types that are sitting in the back seat trying to help steer us into the wall.

God save Amercia!

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Once Again O’Keefe Amateur Hour Antics Busted, This Time by Washington Post

New Orleans  James O’Keefe is a bad penny that just keeps turning up every time there’s an election these days or some opportunity for him to insert himself into another ridiculous, if not illegal, scam. O’Keefe is a convicted criminal in 2010 for his role along with several confederates in trying to bug the local New Orleans office of former Senator Mary Landrieu on a fantasy claim that her staff was not answering the phone for calls about the Affordable Care Act. O’Keefe made his name for his falsely edited videos targeting ACORN’s housing operation, triggering widespread Congressional and other conservative attacks on the organization. Now reporters with the Washington Post have busted O’Keefe and his operatives trying to lure them into a “fake news” scam as he tries to help embattled senatorial candidate in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore.

This time he had a woman named Jamie Phillips contact Post reporters in the wake of reports of Moore’s molestation of a 14 year old when he was in his 30s. Phillips claimed to reporters that she had a secret sexual relationship with Moore in more recent decades, and he had impregnated her when she was 15 and took her to Mississippi for an abortion. She claimed she only wanted to come forward if the reporters could guarantee it would eliminate Moore from the race. They repeatedly told her that they could offer no such guarantees and insisted that they would have to fact check her story. She continually tried to get the reporters to offer their opinions on Moore and the Alabama election, which they also refused to do.

Over a two-week investigation, the Post became increasingly skeptical of her story. They found a GoFundMe site in her name where she indicated that, having lost her job working as a mortgage broker, she was joining a conservative outfit to expose media problems. They discounted the story she told about her cellphone and other inconsistencies, like her claim of a current employer who had no record of her work. They then realized that where she had moved in the New York New Jersey area was only 16 miles away from the O’Keefe’s Project Veritas headquarters. They also found a fairly recent job positing by Veritas to hire a dozen agents of sorts to do the kind of thing that Phillips might be doing. They began following her. They organized another meeting with her. The reporter was careful to block her purse on the table with her own purse so she could not be filmed. They confronted her with the information from the GoFundMe site. She claimed she had interviewed with the Daily Caller, but it had not worked out. The Post contacted numerous people at the Caller and no one with her name or the alias she gave had been interviewed by them. The Post reporter had their own videographers recording the meeting, and then told her the meeting was being filmed and recorded, ending the meeting.

In a final coup d’ grace, two other reporters ended up following her and she was observed going into the Veritas offices for over an hour with her car in the parking lot. Turning the tables, they also tried to interview O’Keefe as he left the building about his connections to this mess, where he refused to be interviewed and obfuscated.

Once again, O’Keefe and his methods have been exposed and thoroughly discredited. In the past, I’ve thought each time his absurd projects have been exposed that it had to be the end for him and his tactics, but instead he has raised millions for Veritas now that it has tax-exempt status (though barred from raising money in Mississippi and Utah because of O’Keefe’s criminal record). With Steve Bannon back at Breitbart, O’Keefe has a waiting outlet for his mischief, so no matter how embarrassing or inept, or how many times his stings backfire, I no longer predict his demise in these politically polarized times where people believe what they want to believe, no matter how preposterous, even when proven to be a total falsehood, and blame the messenger, if it’s not their own, no matter the ridiculousness of the message, or how ill gotten it was obtained.

In a politics without principles, O’Keefe can still aspire to be a prince.

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