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James O'Keefe

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  • O'Keefe reportedly arrested by FBI in alleged "plot to wiretap" senator's office

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a January 26 Times-Picayune article:

    The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans, arrested four people Monday, including James O'Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group's credibility.

    FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O'Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office's telephone system.

    A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

  • Investigation confirms: No evidence of illegal actions by ACORN in videographer scam

    ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL, MATT GERTZ, JOCELYN FONG & ERIC SCHROECK

    After media outlets and figures have repeatedly claimed that videos released by conservative activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles revealed a pattern of ACORN aiding efforts to evade taxes on a fictitious child-prostitution ring, an investigation by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (D) found that "there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers." Indeed, an analysis of those incidents by Media Matters for America indicates that in at least six of the eight videos released, ACORN employees at those offices either were not clearly informed that underage prostitutes were involved, refused to help, appeared to deliberately respond with wildly over-the-top statements, or contacted the police after Giles and O'Keefe had left; moreover, ACORN employees at at least two of the offices advised Giles to file tax returns.

  • In LA video, O'Keefe and Giles expose their own dishonesty

    ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    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.

  • The right wing-PayPal connection

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    A few weeks back, we noted that James O'Keefe -- who has gained right-wing fame for his clandestine ACORN videos -- received thousands of dollars for a previous stunt from Peter Thiel, a co-founder of the online payment site PayPal with major conservative cred.

    Interestingly, Thiel is not the only PayPal alum with a toehold in right-wing activism.

    Eric Jackson is the former marketing director for PayPal, and Norman Book is its former financial systems manager. After leaving the company following its acquisition by eBay, the pair in 2004 founded World Ahead Publishing, with the goal to publish conservative-oriented books (among them: "Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!").

    In 2006, WorldNetDaily selected World Ahead to be the latest partner in its WND Books imprint; in 2008, WND purchased World Ahead outright. As part of the deal, Jackson was named executive vice president of strategy of WND (he has since left that position; he currently "advises startups and non-profits on their business and product strategies"), while Book was named (and remains) executive vice president of operations.

    What does this mean? Not much, beyond the fact that not every dot-com start-up is run by a flaming liberal. And that some are far enough right to hang out with WorldNetDaily.

  • More Fox fabrication: falsely claims Philly ACORN video shows "unlawful actions"

    ››› ››› BRIAN FREDERICK

    Following the release of what Fox News itself called "heavily edited tape" of conservative James O'Keefe's visit to a Philadelphia ACORN office, Fox News ran captions stating, "Exposing ACORN: New Video Shows Unlawful Actions." In fact, in the heavily edited video, there is no evidence of any ACORN worker engaged in any "unlawful actions," and moreover, ACORN workers filed an incident report with Philadelphia police following O'Keefe's visit.

  • In "heavily edited" video rebuttal, O'Keefe does not dispute Philly police report filed after his visit to ACORN office

    ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN & BRIAN FREDERICK

    In a heavily edited video released on October 21, conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe purported to rebut statements made by Philadelphia ACORN worker Katherine Conway Russell about O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles' visit to the Philadelphia ACORN office, but O'Keefe did not dispute the authenticity of the police report ACORN filed with Philadelphia police following their visit. The filing of the police report by ACORN -- Russell can be seen holding a copy of it in O'Keefe's video -- indicates the Philadelphia ACORN office had no intention of helping O'Keefe and Giles conduct any illegal activities, and ACORN said the police report "proves our clear understanding of this scam that was being portrayed."

  • In failed bid to salvage O'Keefe's credibility, Wallace attacks Media Matters

    ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace helped videographer James O'Keefe defend his dwindling credibility by advancing several of O'Keefe's claims without noting that they are contradicted by readily available evidence. Wallace suggested that O'Keefe "denies reports" by Media Matters that O'Keefe, in Wallace's words, "got any money from conservative backers" -- without noting that the evidence Media Matters highlighted consisted of public statements by conservatives that they had funded O'Keefe in the past or planned to raise money for O'Keefe and his partner, Hannah Giles, in the future.

  • Self-identified "completely independent" anti-ACORN filmmaker received thousands from conservative investor for prior video

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a September 22 post on the Village Voice blog Runnin' Scared:

    James O'Keefe, the activist filmmaker who achieved sudden fame for a series of undercover videos recording ACORN workers, has repeatedly said that he is "absolutely independent" and received no outside funding to make his films.

    But the Voice has learned that O'Keefe, in fact, has had heavyweight conservative backers who funded the young filmmaker as recently as a few months before his ACORN films were made.

    The ACORN videos are actually just the latest of several films O'Keefe has produced and uploaded to YouTube. An earlier film posted in February, "Taxpayers Clearing House" featured nonwhite, working class people being duped by O'Keefe, who led them to believe they had won money in a sweepstakes.

    That video was produced with the help of a grant -- said to be about $30,000 [Thiel's spokesman says closer to $10,000 -- see update] -- from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook -- an investment which made him a billionaire.

    Previously:

    Wash. Post ignores ACORN filmmakers' credibility problems

    RedState's ACORN "exclusive" based on theft? Another questionable tactic in conservative assault on Obama, ACORN

  • Not just ACORN: O'Keefe previously taped distribution of "good wife's guide" to women's studies class

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Over the past week, media outlets have given significant coverage to conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe, who, with Townhall.com columnist Hannah Giles, dressed up as a pimp and prostitute and secretly videotaped ACORN employees providing them with counseling. But this is not the first time O'Keefe has engaged in such activities in support of conservative causes; as a Rutgers University undergraduate, O'Keefe videotaped a classmate distributing to a Women in Culture and Society lecture a handout that emphasized that a "good wife always knows her place."