Right-wing activist James O’Keefe just can’t seem to stay out of legal trouble. For starters, O’Keefe got arrested for trying to hack former Senator Mary Landrieu (DINO-La.)’s phones in 2010, and was forced to pay $100,000 to an ACORN worker he’d illegally taped in 2013. Other sleazy moves include trying to seduce and discredit CNN reporter Abby Boudreau in 2010 (alas, O’Keefe had vastly overrated his powers of seduction); and raising eyebrows in 2011 when he took a $100 “gift” from a right-wing blogger who sells crack pipes on the web.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with O’Keefe’s dirty work, he’s most famous for destroying ACORN with a fake scandal of his own making. Because that’s what O’Keefe (and his so-called “investigative film journalist” group Project Veritas) does: Discredit liberal causes, politicians and activists through any means necessary. O’Keefe’s sleazy techniques are like Fox News’ arsenal put into overdrive, and include: Using undercover agents to trick victims into compromising actions or statements; selective editing of film footage; setting up situations that cast victims into an unflattering light; and flat-out lies.
WHISTLEBLOWER SUES O’KEEFE, REFUSES TO INCITE COP KILLERS.
O’Keefe’s latest round of legal hassles began this month when Richard Valdez, a former top staffer with Veritas, threatened to sue him for wrongful firing. Carl Campanile from the New York Post writes that Valdez says he got fired when he backed up an unnamed Muslim employee who refused to infiltrate #BlackLivesMatter protests in New York City. O’Keefe reportedly wanted his undercover agent to incite violence against police by saying “I wish I could kill some of these cops” and seeing what happens.
Valdes said Veritas assigned a Muslim undercover agent pretending to be anti-cop to attend protest meetings and utter the following statement: “Sometimes, I wish I could just kill some of these cops. Don’t you just wish we could have one of the cops right here in the middle of our group?”
The undercover agent wrote in an email to O’Keefe and Valdez:
“I will not say words that will jeopardize my entity, especially when they involve an illegal act of ‘murdering police,’ ”
Valdez adds that O’Keefe gave him the boot because:
“He was unhappy with me for being unwilling to strong-arm the guy to do his dirty work.”
Of course O’Keefe’s spokesman insists his boss would never do anything like that.
“Project Veritas would never do anything that we believe would incite violence against police officers. Anyone suggesting otherwise is clearly unfamiliar with our body of work.”
This isn’t the first time O’Keefe has infiltrated #BlackLivesMatter protests. He recently produced an exposé in which he got the late Eric Garner’s daughter to say activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton is “all about the money.”
Nor is this the only wrongful termination lawsuit looming for O’Keefe. On Jan. 27, as reported by Slate’s David Weigel, Veritas’ former executive director Daniel Francisco filed a lawsuit against Veritas for wrongful firing because O’Keefe never paid him for his final week of work. It is not clear how or why Francisco left.
While watching O’Keefe’s sleazy media empire dissolve into a quagmire of toxic sludge, we liberals and centrists can savor the irony of right-wingers suing a right-win organization for wrongful firing. If these conservatives had their way, workers wouldn’t have any rights at all, and hence no ability to sue.