In making public a video he withheld for more than two months, right-wing activist James O'Keefe finally acknowledged that a Los Angeles ACORN employee "would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities" -- an admission that directly contradicts claims by his colleague Hannah Giles that no ACORN employees refused to help them. Moreover, O'Keefe's claim in the video that the Los Angeles employee was the "only" ACORN employee who refused to help is contradicted by the fact that ACORN employees in two other cities contacted the police following their encounters with O'Keefe and Giles.
ACORN employee refused to assist in obtaining house for "illegal activities"
O'Keefe: LA worker "was the only ACORN employee ... who would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities." In a video released November 16 -- more than two months after Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com website began posting videos in which O'Keefe and Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute in ACORN offices -- O'Keefe states that a Los Angeles ACORN worker identified as Felix Harris "was the only ACORN employee in our nationwide investigation who would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities." O'Keefe states during the video that his interaction with the worker occurred on "August 17, 2009."
O'Keefe's admission directly contradicts Giles' claims
Giles previously answered "No" to the question: "[Y]ou didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " On the September 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity interviewed Giles and Breitbart. During the interview, Hannity asked Giles: "[W]hen you go to Baltimore and D.C. and New York and San Bernardino and San Diego, and this all happened, were there any cities you went to where you just didn't get any videotape not worthy to air?" Giles replied: "We're airing it. It's pretty worthy. Everyone seems to think -- ." Hannity then asked: "In other words, you didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " Giles responded, "No."
Breitbart didn't disclose LA tape when asked whether "every" ACORN office visited "helped you or were willing to help you." Following Giles' denial, Hannity said during the September 16 interview, "Not one? Every place you went, they helped you or were willing to help you, either -- not report you for an underage prostitution ring, evade taxes as we've -- ." Rather than acknowledge what happened in Los Angeles, Breitbart responded, "Right. It is interesting. There's no place, as ACORN tried to state, that kicked them out based upon the premise that they were doing something nefarious."
Giles previously answered "no" to question: "[Y]ou are saying that there were some [ACORN employees] that did refuse?" Appearing on the September 13 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Giles stated: "[A]bout the whole kicking out, I mean, the women in Baltimore hugged me and -- when I left. And the women in D.C. -- I did follow-up phone calls, and they asked if I could come and meet them for coffee so we could further discuss how to make this possible." Fox News senior correspondent Eric Shawn then asked, "[Y]ou are saying that there were some that did refuse? James or Hannah?" Giles responded, "Not -- no."
Flynn previously claimed: "[I]t's everywhere [O'Keefe] went." According to a September 16 article on the conservative website Human Events, Mike Flynn, the editor-in-chief of BigGovernment.com, said in an exclusive interview: "It's not even just one random employee, it's so comprehensive, it's everywhere [O'Keefe] went. What shocks me is when you watch the videos, they don't even flinch."
O'Keefe dodged questions about whether ACORN employees refused to help
O'Keefe didn't disclose LA tape when asked whether any ACORN employees "were not willing to cooperate." During the September 13 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Shawn asked, "Were there some that refused your offers, that actually did not -- were not willing to cooperate?" But rather than acknowledge at the time what happened in Los Angeles, O'Keefe responded:
O'KEEFE: No -- in none of the facil -- [laughs] none of the facilities kicked us out. That's a lie.
O'Keefe waited more than two months after this exchange to acknowledge that Harris "would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities."
In September, Fox's Chris Wallace reported that O'Keefe "says he'll release all the tapes soon to show if any ACORN offices did the right thing." On the September 27 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace reported that "O'Keefe wants to set the record straight" and aired the following:
WALLACE: O'Keefe wants to set the record straight. He denies reports on left-wing blogs he got any money from conservative backers. And he says he'll release all the tapes soon to show if any ACORN offices did the right thing. Why not release all the tapes at the start?
ACORN employees in other cities contacted the police
Philadelphia and San Diego area ACORN employees contacted police after O'Keefe's visits. Contrary to O'Keefe's assertion that the Los Angeles ACORN worker "was the only ACORN employee in our nationwide investigation who would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities," ACORN employees in Philadelphia and the San Diego area contacted the police following their encounters with O'Keefe and Giles.