Five Questions for James O'Keefe

Five Questions for James O'Keefe

James O’Keefe recently released a new video showing Battleground Texas officials apparently breaking state election law. The footage shows Battleground Texas volunteer Jennifer Longoria saying that the group copies phone numbers from voter registration forms to later use for targeted voter turnout campaigns. She said, “Every time we register somebody to vote, we keep their name, address, phone number.”

Section 13.004 of Texas’ election code states that, “The registrar may not transcribe, copy, or otherwise record a telephone number furnished on a registration application.”

Although O’Keefe’s findings are cause for concern, the so-called “mainstream media” has barely reported on them. In the past, when the media does pay attention to O’Keefe, it is typically to accuse him of a lack of credibility and “over-editing” his work. It is only a matter of time before similar attacks arise in response to the new video. 

We allowed O’Keefe to respond to the most common accusations reported – often untruthfully – by the left-wing media. 

James, people say you are an admitted criminal. Why would you be questioning Battleground’s potentially criminal activity when you yourself are a convicted criminal? 

My crime was a false pretense. I opened the door to a federal building in Louisiana. I said I was waiting there for somebody, when in fact I was not. The federal judge in Louisiana destroyed federal evidence and the U.S. attorney who prosecuted me resigned in disgrace — the mainstream media selectively edited those parts out. 

So compare my crime to Battleground’s voter fraud crime. Compare my crime with copying private cell phone numbers off voter registration forms.

In a recent Breitbart piece, you said that Battleground is the new ACORN. But you settled a $100,000 lawsuit with ACORN. How can you defend this?

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 I was, is one of those states. I argued that that statute is unconstitutional. 

Oh, and by the way, the liberal media outlet Mother Jones won the prestigious Polk Award for doing the exact same thing to Mitt Romney. They did it in Florida, a two-party consent state just like California. But nobody cared when Mother Jones did it. You have to be consistent — you can’t support undercover journalism in Florida against Mitt Romney but not in California against ACORN. The hypocrisy is laughable. 

People say that you have a credibility problem and that you edit your footage. Legal authorities and journalists have documented your editing without a question. Why should anyone believe anything that you report?

In the latest video with Battleground Texas, Voter Deputy Registrar Lisa Wortham said that she sees the forging of signatures happen all the time on absentee ballots. Another woman sitting next to our videographer said, “I don’t think that’s legal, but I didn’t hear you say that.” Nobody in the Texas media wanted to talk about that issue. Instead, the media is focused on an edited laugh in the video…a laugh. The real substance of the video was that signatures were being forged and officials saw it happen. But the media would rather talk about a laugh, not the actual substance of the fraud.  

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; in this most recent case, Wortham’s law firm, Wortham Associates, scrubbed her name from their website. 

This is the type of journalism we do — 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. 

James, even Glenn Beck has attacked you. Even he thinks you’re not credible. How do you respond to that?

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

I have reached out to Scott Baker, I have reached out to The Blaze, and I am trying to rectify the situation. But the fact is, our journalism has made a big impact and gotten serious results. And that’s where our credibility continues to come from. 

Battleground Texas was simply trying to get people out to vote. Aren’t you and your Republican allies just scared of their success? 

Sure, they’re trying to get people out to vote, but they can’t break Texas law doing so. You can’t take peoples’ private data off registration forms, and you can’t sure that data unlawfully. 

I would hope journalists would want to support the exposing of waste, fraud, and abuse. And I would hope journalists with this mission, whether they have a press pass or not, are encouraged. It is deeply upsetting to see Battleground opposed to exposing fraud. They shouldn’t ridicule whistleblowers for shedding light on wrong-doings. 

The founder of ACORN came out in support of Battleground and said they’re on the lookout for “O’Keefers.” Instead of being on the lookout for O’Keefers, why don’t you be on the lookout for fraud in your programs? 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate