Project VeritasProject Veritas

Fact or Fiction

At Project Veritas, we are often accused of a wide number of things. Some are understandable, as there are very few journalists who do the same thing we do. Some are quite outlandish and bizarre, usually coming from journalist or organization which is defending graft, deception, fraud, malfeasance or abuse of power. Below are some of the reasonable questions as well as outright myths we see, along with the facts regarding the accusations.

FACT: Project Veritas edits videos

Every journalist, whether video or print or other medium, edits his or her work. At Project Veritas, we do undercover investigative journalism, and we get results over and over again. And, in the cases where the media focuses on supposed editing, you’ll find that it’s all smoke and mirrors. In all video production, video clips are selected and placed on a timeline and editorial decisions are made regarding which sound bites are most fitting for the final produced product. This is the same technique that all filmmakers and major news organizations use when producing news content. We have hours of video content and it wouldn’t be possible to make each investigative video the equivalent of several days long, since that is sometimes how much footage we have for each story. The same goes for every daily television newscast. When some issues are judgement calls about a person’s meaning, we try to show enough context for you to make up your own mind. All news organizations, print and broadcast, have “editors” for a reason.

FICTION: Project Veritas doesn't get results

Almost every time we release an investigation someone resigns or a law is changed. Obamacare navigators were fired for telling people to lie about their income; multiple states changed their voter ID laws after our videos showed how easy it is to obtain a ballot in the name of a dead person.

FICTION: James O'Keefe only goes after Democrats

A lot of people say that James O’Keefe only investigates Democrats, but he has investigated Republicans too. In April of 2014 James launched an undercover investigation against Mike Ellis, Wisconsin’s Republican Senate president. In the undercover video, James caught Ellis on camera plotting to create his own Super PAC, which is illegal. In the video Ellis, a Republican says, “I am putting together my own super PAC. My brother Dave is going to be in charge of it. We’re going to have $500,000. I don’t need to kiss anybody’s ass.”

Two days after the video was released, Ellis, who again is a Republican, dropped out of his re-election race. Project Veritas’s video was responsible for a senior Republican not seeking re-election.

FICTION: O’Keefe doctored his NPR video

James received numerous criticisms over the NPR video, but only after The Blaze’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker criticized the videos. Baker was a former associate of James O’Keefe, which was part of the reason why his comments were not objective, and malicious. The Blaze criticized James’s editing, but it wasn’t Glenn Beck who attacked James. Not only were those criticisms unfair, even Media Matters had no issues with the editing of the NPR videos prior to Scott Baker’s reporting.

FACT: People criticize O’Keefe’s videos

The people who criticize James O’Keefe and Project Veritas the most are members of the far left and those who become unwilling Internet sensations in his videos as a result of their own malfeasance. Often, when people are caught on tape committing fraud and abuse, it is easier for them to say our videos are selectively edited, call James a liar, or try to discredit Project Veritas than to take responsibility for the crimes and wrongdoings they have committed.

PARTIALLY TRUE: James O’Keefe settled a $100,000 lawsuit with ACORN

The lawsuit in question was from an individual, not the ACORN organization. That lawsuit had nothing to do with lying or doctoring footage — it was over an invasion of privacy. Some states have recording statutes that require you to get permission from the person you’re filming. California, where James was, is one of those states. James argued that the statute is unconstitutional. We settled in this nuisance case because the $100,000 was far cheaper than the estimated minimum cost of $750,000 to fight it out in the courts.

The pertinent section of the actual court document reads:

It is fully understood and agreed by the Parties that this is a settlement of a disputed claim and it is in no way representative of any actual or implied admissions of liability regarding the to the recorded conversations among Vera, O’Keefe and Giles that took place on August 18, 2009 in or near the ACORN office in National City, California and the recordings’ subsequent dissemination, but is executed solely to avoid costs and risks of potential litigation.

FALSE: ACORN didn't do anything wrong

We’ll use the editorial page of the New York Times as well as a report by then California Attorney General Jerry Brown to highlight some of the many egregious activities of ACORN.

From the Times:

Acorn’s supporters appear to hope that the whole story will fall apart over the issue of what O’Keefe wore: if that was wrong, everything else must be wrong. The record does not support them. If O’Keefe did not dress as a pimp, he clearly presented himself as one: a fellow trying to set up a woman — sometimes along with under­age girls — in a house where they would work as prostitutes. In Washington, he said the prostitution was to finance his future in politics. A worker for Acorn Housing, an allied group, warned him to stay away from the brothel lest someone “get wind that you got a house and that your girlfriend is over there running a house of women of the night. You will not have a career.”

FAIR said that in Brooklyn, O’Keefe and Giles seemed to be telling Acorn staffers that “they are attempting to buy a house to protect child prostitutes from an abusive pimp.” That’s right, but FAIR left out the part about their clear intention to operate a brothel, which the Acorn workers seemed to take in stride, with one warning: “Don’t get caught, ’cause it is against the law.”

From Jerry Brown's report:

• ACORN consisted of a tangle of separate affiliate organizations whose activities and
management were confusingly intertwined. 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.

Considering that neither the New York Times nor Jerry Brown could ever be considered friends of James O’Keefe, it’s of particular note how they responded.

FICTION: Project Veritas has a credibility problem

Project Veritas generally does not release raw or unedited tapes or reporters’ notes of investigations, unless subpoenaed by an appropriate government agency. This policy ensures compliance with federal and state laws while providing the best privacy protection for the individuals recorded. The reporting process and methods of Project Veritas are proven successful and effective and are the protected intellectual property and trade secrets of the organization. This policy is in accordance with the practices of news organizations globally and is generally accepted as the professional norm. It by no means implies a credibility problem.

FICTION: O’Keefe’s news clips are selectively/deceptively edited

As previously mentioned, there is a difference between editorial decisions and selective edits. Our videos are NOT selectively edited, but they are edited to fit into a timed production, just like every other film production and newscast. Often, when people are caught on tape committing fraud and abuse it is easier for them to say our videos are selectively edited than to take responsibility for the crimes and wrongdoings they have committed.

FICTION: Even Glenn Beck thinks James O’Keefe isn’t credible

It wasn’t Glenn Beck who attacked James; it was The Blaze’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker. The Blaze criticized James’s editing. Not only were those criticisms unfair, but, even Media Matters had no issues with the editing of James’s NPR videos prior to Scott Baker’s reporting.

FACT: O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor

O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge of entering a Senate office under false pretenses, but here’s the rest of the story. During the Sen. Landrieu office incident:

James O’Keefe was never convicted of any phone tampering charge, breaking in, nor any other felony. In fact, the U.S. District Court documents provide the following:

“In this case, further investigation did not uncover evidence that the defendants intended to commit any felony after entry by false pretenses despite their initial statements to the staff of the Senatorial office and GSA requesting access to the central phone system. Instead, the Government’s evidence would show that the defendants misrepresented themselves and their purpose for gaining access to the central phone system to orchestrate a conversation about phone calls to the Senator’s staff and capture the conversation on video, not to actually tamper with the phone system, or to commit any other felony.”

FICTION: James O’Keefe is a felon

During the Sen. Landrieu office incident:

James O’Keefe was never convicted of any phone tampering charge, breaking in, nor any other felony. In fact, the U.S. District Court documents provide the following:

“In this case, further investigation did not uncover evidence that the defendants intended to commit any felony after entry by false pretenses despite their initial statements to the staff of the Senatorial office and GSA requesting access to the central phone system. Instead, the Government’s evidence would show that the defendants misrepresented themselves and their purpose for gaining access to the central phone system to orchestrate a conversation about phone calls to the Senator’s staff and capture the conversation on video, not to actually tamper with the phone system, or to commit any other felony.”

Additionally, all of the prosecutors involved in the case later resigned or were allowed an early retirement as a result of disgraceful actions which should, but never will be, be prosecuted in a court of law.

FICTION: James O’Keefe sexually assaulted Nadia Naffe

Nadia Naffe was a former employee who falsely accused James O’Keefe of drugging and raping her in a barn. She filed a criminal complaint against James O’Keefe. However, the case was dismissed. Separately, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Patrick Frey opined publicly that Naffe was a liar, and as a result, her case against him was also dismissed.

FICTION: O’Keefe's attempted sexual assault of Abbie Boudreau

James O’Keefe did not attempt to sexually assault CNN reporter Abbie Bourdeau. Bourdeau wanted to interview O’Keefe for a documentary about young conservative activists, and James was hesitant of her intentions. O’Keefe thought it would be humorous to video prank Bourdeau and CNN on his boat during the interview by making them feel uncomfortable through various posters and objects – strictly for the purpose of humor. However, before James could complete his prank, former employees, Izzy Santas, alerted Bourdeau of O’Keefe’s plan to make a prank video. However, the left media drastically twisted this into a rape accusation and falsely accused James of sexual assault. It was simply a plan to make a prank undercover video and all accusations of rape and assault are totally false.

FACT: James O’Keefe was sued by a former employee

James O’Keefe and Project Veritas were sued by former employee Daniel Francisco. Francisco sued for wrongful termination and breach of contract, and he claimed that Project Veritas breached his contract by not paying him for his final week of employment. O’Keefe denies any responsibility, liability, guilt, or wrongdoing with respect to claims made by Dan Francisco. The parties entered a settlement agreement.

FICTION: James O’Keefe was involved with the Shirley Sherrod issue

Andrew Breitbart was heavily involved in that issue, but James O’Keefe had absolutely nothing to do with it.

FICTION: James O’Keefe intended to discredit the alleged rape victims of Judge Roy Moore

While the media ran far and wide with this narrative, wrongly ascribing motive to us, James O’Keefe in fact never intended to discredit the alleged rape victims of Judge Roy Moore during our undercover investigation into the Washington Post. As a matter of fact, in an interview with MediaiteO’Keefe stated that he personally believes Moore’s victims. O’Keefe said:

“We use a variety of aliases to get meetings with people. We’ve posed as pimps, as child abusers, as victims of abuse, as telephone technicians. Undercover journalists have done this throughout the 20th century. We use the alias in order to gain trust and to get a meeting.”

If you carefully watch the Washington Post’s own video of the encounter, you can see that our undercover reporter did not want to talk about Roy Moore or justify her rape alias. We wanted to talk about politics to see if that Post journalist carried an editorial bias, which is consistent with similar investigations we conducted into CNN and The New York Times.