Conservative filmmaker and congenital liar James O'Keefe has been responsible for causing a lot of mayhem in recent years, thanks largely to his selectively edited videos. It was O'Keefe's creatively edited work that brought down the community action group Acorn, for example. But now the tables have been turned and O'Keefe has been caught red-handed trying to promote violence at Donald Trump's inauguration.
A short while ago the liberal groups The Undercurrent and Americans take action got wind that O'Keefe and his band of political hatchet-artists were preparing a sting to catch liberals agreeing to take money in exchange for trying to start a riot during the inauguration. It's not clear whether the plan was to actually start a riot, or whether O'Keefe's minions wanted to get liberals to agree to the idea, then out them before Inauguration Day. But either way, offering to pay someone to incite a riot is highly illegal.
The plot went something like this:
Right wing operatives would present themselves as representatives of a well-heeled donor (probably the great bogeyman of the right, George Soros, although no names are mentioned), offering large sums of money to progressive activists to create mayhem in Washington during the inauguration. The aim was supposedly to distract from Trump's big day by getting news coverage to focus on the anti-Trump unrest.
But O'Keefe and his cadre aren't nearly as bright as the people they were trying to sting. The Undercurrent's Lauren Windsor has been involved in investigating O'Keefe's "Project Veritas," and had become familiar with some of the front groups used by O'Keefe, as well as some of his cohorts.
One of those groups, Breakthrough Dev Group, had a representative of an associated group reach out to liberal activist Ryan Clayton. Clayton set up a meeting with Allison Maass, who was already known to Windsor due to her previous work with O'Keefe. Windsor arranged to have the meeting recorded, and the rest is history.
The video captured Maass explaining to Clayton that her "donor" was interested in drawing attention away from Trump. The goal, she said, was to shut down a bridge in D.C., and hopefully incite a riot. For that, Maass's donor was supposedly offering $100,000.
O'Keefe's shenanigans have landed him in hot water before. In 2010 he and three other scammers illegally misrepresented themselves by dressing up as phone workers in order to gain access to the central phone system at then-Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's office. O'Keefe received three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service. He is a scam artist of the first order, but this plot to bust liberals being violent, even if the intent was only to catch them agreeing to do it, is probably the most seriously illegal thing he or his group has been accused of.
This is how conservatives operate. The facts are almost never or their side, so they have to manufacture a false narrative. Trump rails about CNN being "fake news," but supports people like O'Keefe. The Trump Foundation has donated to Project Veritas and O'Keefe was invited to one of the presidential debates. I guess one con man knows the value of another.
The first video below details the plot as well as the meeting between Maass and Clayton. The second features interviews with Clayton and Windsor, and what may be the absolute best part of the entire event -- Maass's reaction when she is confronted by Windsor, cameras rolling, on the street after she had been caught.
Correction: This article originally stated that James O'Keefe entered Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's office in order to tap the phones. The court did not find O'Keefe guilty of this, but did find him guilty of falsely misrepresenting himself with the intent of "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." The article has been updated.