Let me describe the history of one of the Republican Party’s latest heroes and you tell me if this person is worthy of praise, let alone a sponsored speech tour through Arkansas.
In 2010 this individual, James O’Keefe, disguised himself as a telephone repairman and along with two other folks, broke into a federal telecommunications room and attempted to wiretap the phones of a United States Senator (O’Keefe disputes this assertion and has provided comments below). U.S. Marshals arrested O’Keefe and his Watergate-wannabe cohorts and charged them with federal felony charges. Through an apparent plea agreement, O’Keefe and his accomplices plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of entering a federal building under false pretenses and received 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.
In an even more bizarre case, O’Keefe was accused last year of attempting to lure CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau onto a yacht "filled with sexually explicit props and then record the session."
O’Keefe and his accomplices had crafted a bizarre plot to somehow seduce Boudreau on a boat and even wrote a 13-page plan that listed the props they needed: "hidden cams on the boat," "condom jar," Alicia Keys music, " ceiling mirror," "posters and paintings of naked women," "Playboys and pornographic magazines," "candles," "Viagra and stamina pills," "fuzzy handcuffs," and a "blindfold."
One of O’Keefe’s cohorts warned the reporter before she got on the boat. I guess at least one of O’Keefe’s accomplices had a conscience.
Weird, scary and bizarre.
Today James O’Keefe, the Republican Party’s new hero, is giving speeches in Jonesboro, Little Rock and Texarkana and his appearances are being heavily touted by the conservative group, "Americans for Prosperity."
Americans for Prosperity, while legally a non-profit unassociated with either political party, is essentially an unofficial ally of the Republican Party. The local chapter of AFP is heavily promoting O’Keefe’s road show in Arkansas and are apparently full of pride and admiration of his past exploits. O’Keefe as you recall, released some heavily edited video in 2009 that led to to the ultimate demise of ACORN.
One has to wonder if the Republican Party’s latest hero is really worthy of such accolades when you consider his previous bizarre and illegal activities.
UPDATE: Late yesterday, Talk Business received an email from James O’Keefe in which he took strong issue with one part of my story in regards to the allegation that he attempted to wiretap the office of a United States Senator. O’Keefe noted that he did not admit to committing a felony in his plea agreement nor did he attempt to wiretap a federal office. He forwarded his signed plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The plea agreement is an interesting read as it tells the story of O’Keefe’s actions at a Federal building in New Orleans.
O’Keefe’s email to Talk Business is below and here is a link to his plea agreement where he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, but not a felony charge:
On Sep 28, 2011, at 5:36 PM, James E. O’Keefe III wrote:
This article claims I attempted to commit a felony.
If you do not print an immediate correction I will consult an attorney about potential legal action against your news organization.
Please find the Govt’s explanation of what happened:
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.