James O'Keefe is a name synonymous with pseudo-journalistic dishonesty, criminal acts, and creepy behavior. Now, it appears that people who helped O'Keefe with his schemes have grown tired of dealing with him.
In an article headlined "James O'Keefe's plans derailed by infighting, lack of funding," Politico reports that former associates of O'Keefe and his organization, Project Veritas, are calling out O'Keefe's misbehavior and "lack of professionalism." Project Veritas has responded by threatening to sue them (at least, the ones with whom it hasn't already reached out-of-court settlements). From the article:
"But he'll trample even his best friends to get in front of a camera and present their ideas and work as his own," said the associate ["Simon Templar"], who agreed to talk to POLITICO only to respond to comments from O'Keefe's camp. He asserted that O'Keefe "was frantically desperate to get himself back in the news for something positive" after a spat of bad press over his May 2010 guilty plea to entering a federal building under false pretenses during a botched sting of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and an embarrassing botched sting of a CNN reporter in August 2010.
Templar said that O'Keefe reneged on a promise to credit him and another activist named Oluwaseun "Shaughn" Adeleye for their work on the NPR sting and later threatened to blacklist Templar in the conservative movement if he complained publicly.
Another activist, Nadia Naffe, who worked with O'Keefe on the "To Catch a Journalist" project, backed out last month, before the project was completed, alleging in an email to O'Keefe and the Project Veritas board that O'Keefe treated her disrespectfully.
In response, O'Keefe's attorney, Ben Light, fired off a letter accusing her of "working with others to smear my client's reputation" and threatening a lawsuit. Light said he was also preparing a lawsuit against Templar for breaching a confidentiality agreement.
"These are personal attacks that are just garbage," Light said. "They're not even newsworthy. So we're going to do everything that we can to stop them."
Project Veritas paid a former employee named Izzy Santa a five-figure settlement after she threatened to sue. Santa's settlement included a nondisclosure agreement, and she declined POLITICO's interview requests. She and O'Keefe had a falling out after she tipped off one of his targets, Abbie Boudreau, about a lewd plan to embarrass her. Boudreau was working for CNN on a documentary about O'Keefe and other young conservative activists at the time.
Politico also reports that Project Veritas is having trouble raising money, falling well short of its $600,000 goal and unable to pay O'Keefe's promised $120,000 annual salary.
Of course, anyone who has been watching O'Keefe's career as a right-wing darling could hardly be surprised that things would turn out this way. After the jump, relive the lowlights of O'Keefe's campaign of shoddy, dishonest activism, courtesy of the Media Matters archives.
- James O'Keefe