James Edward O'Keefe III was born on June 28,1984 and is an American political activist and provocateur who founded Project Veritas, a far-right activist group that uses deceptive editing and information gathering techniques to attack mainstream media organizations and progressive groups.
58 Facts About James O'Keefe
James O'Keefe served as chairman until he separated from the organization in February 2023 amid controversy over his handling of finances and his management style.
James O'Keefe first gained national attention for his selectively edited video recordings of workers at Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now offices in 2009, his arrest and misdemeanor guilty plea in 2010 for entering the federal office of then-US Senator Mary Landrieu under false pretenses, and the release of misleading videos of conversations with two high-ranking, now former, NPR executives in 2011.
The Attorney General's Office found that James O'Keefe had misrepresented the actions of ACORN workers in California and that the workers had not broken any laws.
James O'Keefe has gained support from right-wing and conservative media and interest groups, as well as from the far right.
On March 15,2023, James O'Keefe launched a new organization called James O'Keefe Media Group.
James Edward O'Keefe III was born in Bergen County, New Jersey, the elder of two children of James, a materials engineer, and Deborah O'Keefe, a physical therapist.
James O'Keefe's home was politically "conservative but not rigidly so", according to his father.
James O'Keefe graduated from Westwood High School, where he showed an early interest in the arts, theater and journalism.
James O'Keefe attained Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.
James O'Keefe started at Rutgers University in 2002 and majored in philosophy.
James O'Keefe left the Targum and founded the Rutgers Centurion, a conservative student paper supported by a $500 "Balance in the Media" grant from The Leadership Institute.
James O'Keefe intended to have officials lose either way: to appear insensitive to an ethnic group, or to look silly by agreeing to ban Lucky Charms.
James O'Keefe has produced and distributed secretly recorded and misleadingly edited videos and audio files made during staged encounters with targeted entities or individuals.
James O'Keefe's work takes the form of undercover stings targeted at liberal groups and politicians.
James O'Keefe sought to "embarrass" and "damage" his targets, such as Landrieu and ACORN.
James O'Keefe has sought to maximize publicity by releasing secretly recorded videos over several days or months, often in relation to funding authorizations or significant political actions related to the subject organization.
In January 2010, James O'Keefe began a column on Breitbarts website, BigGovernment.
James O'Keefe is a conservative activist with mainstream conservative pro-market and anti-government views, although he has described himself as a "progressive radical", because he wants to change things, "not conserve them".
In 2006, James O'Keefe met Lila Rose, the founder of an anti-abortion group on the University of California, Los Angeles campus.
In 2007, James O'Keefe phoned several Planned Parenthood clinics and secretly recorded the conversations.
James O'Keefe posed as a donor, asking if his donations would be applied to needs of minority women, accompanied by race-related remarks such as "there's way too many black people in Ohio".
James O'Keefe framed the undercover recordings with a preface of him dressed in a "pimp" outfit, which he wore in TV media interviews.
James O'Keefe selectively edited and manipulated his recordings of ACORN employees, and distorted the chronology of events.
James O'Keefe said that he "regrets any pain" caused by his actions, though James O'Keefe's lawyer dismissed any claimed injury incurred by Vera and stated that the payment was a "nuisance settlement".
James O'Keefe moved for summary judgment in his favor, arguing that the plaintiff had no reasonable expectation that the conversation would be private.
James O'Keefe stated that he had entered Landrieu's office to investigate complaints that she was ignoring phone calls from constituents during the debate over President Barack Obama's health care bill.
James O'Keefe was sentenced to three years' probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.
The video shows Letten accusing James O'Keefe of "terrorizing" Letten's wife at their home, of harassing him, and trespassing on the Tulane campus.
On March 8,2011, shortly before the US Congress was to vote on funding for National Public Radio, James O'Keefe released a heavily edited video of a discussion with Ronald Schiller, NPR's senior vice president for fundraising, and associate Betsy Liley.
Schiller said some highly placed Republicans believed the Republican Party had been hijacked by a radical group that they characterized as "Islamophobic" and "seriously racist, racist people", and while Schiller did not disagree, according to NPR, James O'Keefe's editing made it appear those were Schiller's opinions.
Two days later, James O'Keefe released a video in which Betsy Liley, senior director of institutional giving at NPR, appeared to have checked with senior management and said MEAC was cleared to make donations anonymously and NPR could help shield donations from government audits, but added that, in order to proceed, additional background information would be required, including an IRS Form 990.
James O'Keefe attended, as a guest of the Trump campaign, the final presidential debate, and was later available in the spin room following the Las Vegas event.
On November 8,2016, James O'Keefe spent some time following vans that were allegedly "bussing people around to polls in Philadelphia".
On October 18,2016, James O'Keefe released a series of videos on Project Veritas' YouTube channel titled "Rigging the Election" that apparently showed former national field director Scott Foval of Americans United for Change discussing ensuring that they have people at the front of the rope lines at rallies in order to ask questions, a common practice known as "bird dogging".
On October 26,2016, James O'Keefe posted a fourth video on his Project Veritas Action YouTube channel.
James O'Keefe set up an appointment at his office in Maryland to discuss a video shoot.
When questioned by CNN, James O'Keefe denied he was going to follow the Wetmore plan, as he found parts of it inappropriate.
James O'Keefe obtained one video from recordings made by "citizen journalists", whom he recruited to attend the NJEA's leadership conference.
Americans for Prosperity and James O'Keefe said he had similar recorded videos from offices in Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina, and believed that there was a systemic problem.
James O'Keefe said his office would use the video to strengthen staff training.
In January 2012, James O'Keefe released a video of associates obtaining a number of ballots for the New Hampshire Primary by using the names of recently deceased voters.
James O'Keefe said his team broke no laws, as they did not pretend to be the deceased persons when they asked for the ballots, and they did not cast votes after receiving ballots.
Hamline University law professor David Schultz said, "If they [James O'Keefe's group] were intentionally going in and trying to fraudulently obtain a ballot, they violated the law", referring to Title 42, which prohibits procuring ballots fraudulently.
James O'Keefe struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.
On June 26,2017, James O'Keefe released a video on the YouTube channel of Project Veritas that showed John Bonifield, a producer of health and medical stories for CNN, saying CNN's coverage of the Russia investigation was "Because it's ratings" and that the coverage was "mostly bullshit".
On June 28,2017, James O'Keefe released the second part of the series of undercover videos, by then dubbed "American Pravda".
On June 30,2017, James O'Keefe released the third part of the undercover videos.
James O'Keefe was seen outside Project Veritas' office in Mamaroneck, New York, with her car remaining at the office's parking lot for more than an hour.
James O'Keefe declined to comment about the woman's apparent connection to Project Veritas.
Hours after the Post published this story, James O'Keefe released a video which he claimed exposed the newspaper's liberal bias.
James O'Keefe was criticized for his failed sting, and The Washington Post was praised.
Dan McLaughlin of the conservative National Review said that James O'Keefe's sting was an "own goal" and that James O'Keefe was doing a disservice to the conservative movement; Jim Geraghty of the National Review made a similar assessment.
Jonathan Chait of New York magazine said that James O'Keefe, having set out prove that the Post was fake news, ended up disproving it.
James O'Keefe's plot collapsed because it was premised on a ludicrously false worldview, wrote Chait.
Tim Kenneally and Daniel Frankel reporting for TheWrap in 2011 noted that some of James O'Keefe's supporters referred to him as the right wing's answer to a long line of left-leaning "hybrid troublemakers who get put on the cover of Rolling Stone, like Paul Krassner and Abbie Hoffman".
James O'Keefe's success at luring his prey into harming themselves is a measure of how fallible and foolish anyone, including good people, can sometimes be.
James O'Keefe denied that he used fake Twitter accounts and said that he would sue Twitter in response.