James O'Keefe and the Conservative Ethos

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    James O'Keefe and the Conservative Ethos

    In 2009, the right wing swooned over insurgent wannabe-journalist James O'Keefe's scandalous ACORN sting, which later proved to be both false and very nearly criminal. In 2010, the conservative pimp pled guilty after posing as a telephone repairman in a failed attempt to bug the office of Louisiana Democratic Rep. Mary Landrieu.

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    I am a criminal: The mugshot of right-wing hero and fraudster James O'Keefe.

    Kenneth Vogel reports for Politico that the conservative crook now faces trouble as his nonprofit Project Veritas falls apart under the weight of funding problems and a fundamental lack of trust:

    O’Keefe’s vision, pieced together from court filings, interviews and tax records filed by his nonprofit Project Veritas, has been hampered by bitter infighting, lack of funding and even his own fame.

    And O’Keefe has begun to fight back, preparing lawsuits against two former associates-turned-critics — one who claims O’Keefe had little to do with his biggest post-ACORN exposé, focused on NPR, and another former colleague who says she backed out of a project last month because of O’Keefe’s lack of professionalism.

    The mounting turmoil comes as O’Keefe’s recent efforts — including an apparently ongoing media bias exposé called “To Catch a Journalist” and an effort to highlight the hypocrisy of Occupy Wall Street protesters — have mostly fallen flat.

    While O’Keefe’s allies staunchly defend his work and accuse the media of minimizing it, some also concede he may need to adapt in order to live up to conservative hopes that he would lead a new wave of potent conservative activist journalism.

    O'Keefe has been unable to generate any real excitement over his attempts to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement and journalists suspected of being too liberal. He was laughed out of the Columbia Journalism School when he attempted to sting Sree Sreenivasan, the Dean of Students. In October, O'Keefe attempted to sting Sam Stein of The Huffington Post.

    And it seems that some of his associates at Project Veritas have had enough of the activist's juvenile antics:

    O’Keefe has been mostly limited to doing follow-up interviews, as opposed to the more brazen undercover work that he did in his seminal ACORN sting, said Francisco Gonzalez, a close O’Keefe friend and adviser who sits on the board of Project Veritas.

    “It’s really tough for him as James O’Keefe to go undercover, because once you have done a few of these, people are going to start recognizing you,” he said. “So the bigger, broader goal for Project Veritas is to educate and train citizen journalists across the country to empower themselves to do their own investigations.”

    Yet O’Keefe has had a series of falling outs with close associates involved in his stings — and some of them have grumbled that he lacks the undercover journalism chops and leadership ability to turn Project Veritas into a force.

    “What people around him learn about O’Keefe is that he doesn’t plan or research anything he does,” said a former associate who devised and implemented the NPR sting, which led to the resignation of the taxpayer-supported radio network’s president.

    In the NPR sting, executives of the radio network were secretly recorded disparaging conservatives and they appear to consider accepting money from a made-up group with ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The project, involving a fake website and email addresses, was Project Veritas’s most elaborate to date, and the former associate, who goes by the pseudonym “Simon Templar,” said O’Keefe was “clueless and uninvolved” in the planning and only handled the editing.

    “But he’ll trample even his best friends to get in front of a camera and present their ideas and work as his own,” said the associate, who agreed to talk to POLITICO only to respond to comments from O’Keefe’s camp. He asserted that O’Keefe “was frantically desperate to get himself back in the news for something positive” after a spat of bad press over his May 2010 guilty plea to entering a federal building under false pretenses during a botched sting of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and an embarrassing botched sting of a CNN reporter in August 2010.

    Templar said that O’Keefe reneged on a promise to credit him and another activist named Oluwaseun “Shaughn” Adeleye for their work on the NPR sting and later threatened to blacklist Templar in the conservative movement if he complained publicly.

    Another activist, Nadia Naffe, who worked with O’Keefe on the “To Catch a Journalist” project, backed out last month, before the project was completed, alleging in an email to O’Keefe and the Project Veritas board that O’Keefe treated her disrespectfully.

    Ben Light, an attorney representing James O'Keefe, accused Naffe of conspiring a smear campaign against the former right-wing flavor of the month. And if quality endorsements mean anything at all, it is notable that his well-established fellow conservative hatemonger Andrew Breitbart spoke in his defense: "There are a lot of people who want to destroy him," the marquee slander artist explained, "so I’m sympathetic to him and I understand that, like me, he is going to have to figure out how to manage people and how to manage this imperfect environment." Breitbart went on to say that he is not surprised that there is turbulence behind the scenes, because so many people want to be criminals like O'Keefe.

    Project Veritas paid a former employee named Izzy Santa a five-figure settlement after she threatened to sue. Santa’s settlement included a nondisclosure agreement, and she declined POLITICO’s interview requests. She and O’Keefe had a falling out after she tipped off one of his targets, Abbie Boudreau, about a lewd plan to embarrass her. Boudreau was working for CNN on a documentary about O’Keefe and other young conservative activists at the time.

    Gonzalez, the Project Veritas board member, said he was “very disappointed” that Santa tipped off Boudreau instead of coming to him, and he suggested that Naffe was “trying to take advantage of James.”

    O’Keefe, meanwhile, asserted that Templar and Adeleye — who he pointed out were “volunteers within Project Veritas” — were properly credited for their roles in the NPR sting. “At every opportunity I publicly gave the volunteers credit for their contributions to the project and their accomplishments,” he said in an email.

    Without Templar and Adeleye, “there would be no NPR investigation,” Gonzalez conceded. “I don’t think it was James’ idea. I think it was their idea,” he said. He acknowledged that O’Keefe has sometimes overshadowed other activists and added “I don’t know if folks are craving attention or are jealous that James gets a lot of the attention.”

    It is an interesting insight into the conservative ethos: You come up with the ideas; you do the work; you take the risks; I take the credit.

    In the end, even with heavyweights like direct-mail king Richard Viguerie—founder of Conservative Digest magazine and chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, former candidate for president under the banner of George Wallace's Independent Party, and fundraiser for notorious cult figure Sun Myung Moon—and Texas conservative fundraiser Kate Doner in his corner, O'Keefe's Project Veritas has failed to meet—is "not anywhere near"—its fundraising goal for 2011: "He's barely paying his own expenses", said Mr. Gonzalez; the nonprofit group cannot presently pay O'Keefe his promised $120,000 salary. Still, though, there are some obsessive conservatives who will fund this favorite of right-wing clowns; the Koch-supported Americans for Prosperity special interest organization hosted O'Keefe at its Defending the Dream summit event, where he received a standing ovation.

    Insight to the conservative ethos, indeed.


    Vogel, Kenneth P. "James O’Keefe's plans derailed by infighting, lack of funding". Politico. November 17, 2011. Politico.com. November 18, 2011. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68628.html
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
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  3. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Proved to be false?

    Not according to the NY Times:

    (my bolding)

    I like your "very nearly criminal" slur.

    Come up with that by yourself?

    Is that like being "very nearly pregnant"?

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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    The most vexing problem for people like James O'Keefe is the truth.

    "James E. O'Keefe III (born June 28, 1984) is a conservative American activist who has produced controversial audio and video recordings of public figures and workers in a variety of organizations. He gained national attention for his release of video recordings of workers at ACORN offices in 2009, his arrest in early 2010 at the office of Senator Mary Landrieu, and release of videos of NPR executives in 2011. Investigations by legal authorities and journalists have found O'Keefe has "selectively", "heavily" and "deceptively" edited secretly recorded videos to leave a false impression and present the subjects in the worst possible light" - Wikipedia


    James E. O'Keefe III does indeed embody the American conservative ethos.
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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I was given to understand that's because the ACORN staffers were trying to gather evidence to give to the police.

    I'm having a rotten time right now, Arthur, and you're going to believe Faux news, hook line and sinker anyway, so I dunno why I bother. Whatever. You can bite me.

    Regardless of what you think, O'Keefe is a narcissistic little pr!ck who only gets away with the sh!t he's pulled because he's being protected by somebody...I'm talking about the wiretapping of congresswoman Mary Landrieu's office, for which he should have done hard time.

    I hope he gets caught with a line of coke up his nose and a ladyboy's d*ck up his ass in full living color. I will do a happy dance.
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    LOL, you're kidding, right?

    Chimkin, note that I referenced the NY Times, not Fox.
    You have a problem with the NY Times?

    Except had he done that he would have done time but that's not what he did (or even tried to do (they didn't have the smarts/equipment needed to actually wiretap anyone)).


    I wasn't defending everything O'Keefe has ever done, just saying that the ACORN allegations weren't, as Tiassa posted, "proved false".
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Arthur's Demonstration of the Conservative Ethos

    I'll see your Wikipedia:

    Proskauer Rose (independent review): The independent external investigation found that while some of the counsel given by employees and volunteers was "unprofessional and inappropriate", the videos that had been released appeared to have been edited, "in some cases substantially", and ACORN employees had taken no illegal actions.

    Congressional Research Service: It stated that ACORN has not been found to violate any federal regulations in the past five years. In addition, findings included: There were no instances of voter fraud by individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees; No instances where ACORN violated terms of federal funding in the last 5 years. The CRS found that O'Keefe and Giles may have violated Maryland and California laws banning the recording of face-to-face conversations without consent of both parties.

    New York Attorney General: On March 1, 2010, the District Attorney's office for Brooklyn determined that the videos were "heavily edited" and concluded that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the ACORN staff in the videos from the Brooklyn ACORN office

    California Attorney General: Citing the 1967 Invasion of Privacy Act, Brown's report stated that "an application of these principles to the facts presented here strongly suggests that O'Keefe and Giles violated state privacy laws and provides fair warning to them and others that this type of activity can be prosecuted in California" .... Brown concluded, "Even if O'Keefe and Giles had truly intended to break the law, there is no evidence that any of the ACORN employees had the intent to aid and abet such criminal conduct or agreed to join in that illegal conduct." While faulting a few of the recorded ACORN members for "terrible judgment and highly inappropriate behavior", Brown said, "[T]hey didn't commit prosecutable crimes in California". Regarding the publicity related to the videos, Brown stated, "The evidence illustrates ... that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

    It ought not surprise me that conservatives such as yourself, who run to Wikipedia for evidence, are either amnesiac or simply dishonest. Conservatives across the nation were stunned and then enraged when, in September, 2009, Maryland state's attorneys in Baltimore announced that they would investigate O'Keefe and Giles for violating state law:

    Upon review by this office, the video appears to be incomplete. In addition, the audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law, Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402, which requires two party consent.

    If it is determined that the audio portion now being heard on YouTube was illegally obtained, it is also illegal under Maryland Law to willfully use or willfully disclose the content of said audio. The penalty for the unlawful interception, disclosure or use of it is a felony punishable up to 5 years.

    (qtd. in Sheppard)

    How accurate could Hoyt be? As your own quotation of Wikipedia says, "... reviewed 'the available public record,' before the California AG released the raw videotapes the following month."

    I mean, I know, anything to support your favorite right-wing criminal, Arthur, but really, I think you're insulting people by trying to pass off a newspaper public editor's review in medias res as a final conclusion when the real final conclusions differ.

    But thank you for your demonstration of the conservative ethos.


    Wikipedia. "ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy". October 24, 2011. En.Wikipedia.com. November 18, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACORN_2009_undercover_videos_controversy

    —————. "James O'Keefe". November 18, 2011. En.Wikipedia.com. November 18, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_O'Keefe

    Sheppard, Noel. "Maryland May Prosecute ACORN Sting Video Makers". NewsBusters. September 12, 2009. NewsBusters.org. November 18, 2011. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-s...ryland-may-prosecute-acorn-sting-video-makers
  10. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    you got to be careful when you support and make law . Here is an expression to contemplate. People dare to do . It is human nature . Most people look only of the positive outcome not even beginning to to see the negative impacts new law brings . All happy giddy up untill someone abuses the written text in the law. Keep in mind people dare to do
  11. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Cut to the chase:


    ACORN consisted of a tangle of separate affiliate organizations whose activities and management were confusingly entertwined. ACORN in California was disorganized and very poorly managed. It failed to recruit, train and monitor its employees to ensure compliance with California law.

    The recordings establish ACORN employees across the country were willing to discuss with O’Keefe and Giles their plan to conduct a prostitution business, and a few even made suggestions for disguising profits and avoiding detection by law enforcement agencies. The most offensive conversations occurred outside California.
    Although highly inappropriate, the evidence does not show that the ACORN employees in California violated state criminal laws in connection with their conversations with O’Keefe and Giles.

    O’Keefe and Giles received immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing the full, unedited videotapes. As a result, we did not determine if they violated California’s Invasion of Privacy Act when they recorded the ACORN employees. If the circumstances meet the requirements of the Act, the ACORN employees may be able to bring a private suit against O’Keefe and Giles for recording a confidential conversation without consent.

    The San Diego ACORN office most likely violated state civil laws designed to protect personal information, when it disposed of documents with confidential information about its employees, members, and individuals in the community it served. These violations may result in private litigation by the victims if they were injured by the disclosures.

    The California Secretary of State discovered four instances of possible voter registration fraud in San Diego in connection with the 2008 election. These cases have been examined by the Secretary of State’s Office and referred to the local district attorney. The district attorney’s office investigated and has filed no criminal charges. We found no allegations or evidence of actual fraudulent votes being cast.

    At the inception of our investigation, ACORN and 18 affiliates were delinquent in registering or filing reports with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. In response to notices from the Registry, all 19 of those entities have now either cured the delinquencies or forfeited their corporate status in California.

    ACORN solicited contributions for charitable purposes for victims of Southern California wildfires. ACORN did not properly account for these charitable funds and was unable to tell us if it raised any restricted funds or how the funds were used. We determined that ACORN spent more than it likely raised for the fire victims and therefore further action into this issue is not a wise use of the State’s resources.

    ACORN did not file its 2007 tax form with the Franchise Tax Board. The Board will take appropriate action.

    Although ACORN’s successor organization in California, ACCE, emphasizes that it is no longer part of ACORN, it is run by the same people, raising concerns about its ability to cure the defects in the organization. ACCE is organized as a California nonprofit public benefit corporation. As a result, its operations will be subject to more oversight by this Office and we will scrutinize its future activities.

    ACORN failed to implement internal controls and procedures sufficient to account for and protect charitable assets held in California as required by California law. This lack of appropriate infrastructure raises concerns about ACORN’s use of its charitable funds and grants. However, we found no complaints from any California agency or private foundation that ACORN had misused funds granted and supervised by the agency or foundation. The Lousiana Attorney General and the IRS are investigating ACORN’s finances and use of charitable and grant funds. We will continue to closely monitor those investigations for evidence of illegal activity in California


    Clearly, your assertion, that their allegations were proved false was false.

  12. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I came looking for ethos and, not finding any, decided to savor the pathos.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The obvious point

    Only according to the conservative ethos, as you have amply demonstrated.
  14. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    I guess you can't read that well.

    According to the California DA's report I linked to:

  15. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Oh goodie, more ad hominem as a subsitute for reason and evidence. You are cherry picking again...not even reading or selectively reading your proofs.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The Conservative Ethos

    Well, did you ever notice how he does this in an effort to change the subject?

    The fact is that James O'Keefe has apparently reached the sort of plateau where only Andrew Breitbart holds him in high esteem; I wonder if the ol' man will write the young a big-ass check to fund future creative ventures.

    And while O'Keefe's videos, which eventually destroyed ACORN and compelled members of Congress to forego their oaths and pass a bill of attainder, were eventually demonstrated to be misrepresentative hack jobs, here comes Arthur to pretend that part never happened.

    The conservative ethos, indeed.
  17. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    What I brought up was in the OP where you wrote: the ACORN sting, which later proved to be both false

    As the link I just posted showed, the key issue brought up in the ACORN sting indeed did NOT turn out to be false.

  18. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    No Arthur you are the guy who has been trying to carry the water for your Tea Party friends for a very long time around here. Remember the witch who is not a witch or the candidate for governor who really wasn't threatening a reporter but offering offering to take him out on a date?

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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  19. Gustav Banned Banned

  20. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Get over yourself

    Offensive and criminal are two different things, Arthur. O'Keefe attempted to depict ACORN as a criminal operation. He failed to do so.

    That you need to change the standard so long after that failure is a fairly precise demonstration of the conservative ethos.

    It's like your bawling last month: "I'm sick of people claiming that just because we don't see eye to eye on the solution to an issue that we must want to destroy the country, or that we are heartless or cruel etc etc ad nauseum."

    Oh, boo-hoo. Poor you. I would say I'm sorry your feelings were hurt, but I'm not. Because it is not the fact that we don't see eye to eye that represents you as such a distasteful person, but, rather, the fact that you are dishonest.

    In this thread we see your usual pathetic attempt to distract from the subject: James O'Keefe is so bad at what he does, he is alienating his own people.

    That you should try to rewrite history in order to restore some semblance of respectability to this right-wing darling who also happens to be an incompetent criminal is, somehow, not surprising at all.

    Of course, maybe that's because anyone who has observed the conservative ethos in recent years would reasonably expect this kind of dishonesty from the right wing.
  22. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    The dishonesty of the right is not only disgusting, it is blatent and ubiquitous.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The Profit In Ignorance

    It is to their advantage if history itself is a question mark.

    If we are to constantly bicker about the details of history, then maybe nobody will notice that the paradox about how the right wing treats O'Keefe. Here, for instance, is a criminal who apparently cannot muster the simple respect to keep his own organization going, who cannot even raise enough funds to pay himself, who finds himself in league with other notorious heroic political figures like the slander king, the junk mail king, and the religious cult fundraiser, and yet some conservatives so hate their neighbors, their nation, and reality that they will continue to plead O'Keefe's case because it is a better route to follow than considering the implications.

    This is what they get when capitalism infects the soul and shapes the ethos. Short-term profit, long-term embarrassment, and much investment wasted trying to cover up the red ink in the ledger.

    No wonder they have to go with pathetic laments like, "just because we don't see eye to eye ...."

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