Breitbart says arrest not related to BigGovernment, but he's paying alleged phone interference* plotter O'Keefe "a fair salary"

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Yesterday, ACORN videographer James O'Keefe was arrested for an alleged plot to interfere with* Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone. Andrew Breitbart, whose website BigGovernment.com published O'Keefe's ACORN videos, stated that he pays O'Keefe a "fair salary" so that "when he puts a story out there, it's on the Breitbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired." Breitbart also said that O'Keefe "was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com" when he was arrested.

From an interview by Hugh Hewitt:

HH: I love that, by the way. That is exactly what public figures should do when they are implicated, even by a complete falsehood in something like this. They should do what you're doing, which is get out there and say nope, not me, not now, not ever, never. Last question, in terms of his relationship with you not connected to this event, are you still, is he in your employ in any way?

AB: When the story came to us, what I wanted to do was to make sure that the ACORN story got as much widespread dissemination as humanly possible. The videos that he independently produced went on YouTube. And so Huffington Post, every single site put it out there, including my sites. What he does for the site exclusively is he tells his life rights, basically. So when he puts a story out there, it's on the Brietbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired. So...

HH: Do you pay him for that?

AB: Yes.

HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?

AB: I'll...perhaps at another date, but he's paid a fair salary.

HH: Is he...so he is an employee?

AB: I'm not sure that's technically the thing, but yes, he's paid for his life rights. And he's, you know, he's still...we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.

HH: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?

AB: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.

Some Media Matters for America posts inaccurately stated that James O'Keefe was arrested in an alleged plot to wiretap or bug Sen. Landrieu's office. These errors were based on media reports (such as this one). The FBI affidavit actually alleged that O'Keefe and the others arrested were engaged in a plot to "interfer[e]" with Landrieu's telephone system. We regret the errors.

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Andrew Breitbart, Hugh Hewitt, James O'Keefe
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