Ellison: "There's never been any finding by any court that ACORN did anything wrong; @JamesOKeefeIII HAS been convicted of crimes." #nn17
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 11, 2017
Lest we forget — being a Republican means never learning anything from one’s mistakes. Jane Mayer, in the New Yorker, on a repeat offender:
James O’Keefe III, the conservative activist famous for undercover stings, has dedicated his life to exposing the “misconduct” of others. But he’s developed a side business in accidentally exposing his own. In the latest chapter of his strange career, the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental-advocacy group, has filed a complaint against three individuals who infiltrated its operations, at least two of whom, the group alleges, “could be associated with” O’Keefe and have past ties to him. The group’s leaders recently began to suspect that they were being scammed, and decided to go to the authorities before O’Keefe or his alleged associates released any material on their own.
In a six-page letter of complaint sent to the California Department of Justice on Friday, the League of Conservation Voters, or L.C.V., asked the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, to open a criminal investigation into the operatives for potential fraud, racketeering, unfair business practices, trespassing, invasion of privacy, and possible violation of the state’s two-way-consent eavesdropping laws. The environmental group filed the letter in California because the “imposters,” as it labelled the operatives, first made contact with the organization through its state branch in the San Francisco Bay Area. A spokesperson for the California Department of Justice declined to comment, as is its policy on potential criminal investigations.
O’Keefe, whom I reached by phone on Tuesday, said that he was unaware of the letter and otherwise declined to discuss the matter. “I don’t comment on investigations real or imagined, or work with mainstream reporters who operate in bad faith,” he told me. In 2016, I wrote an article for this magazine about O’Keefe’s bungled attempt to sting George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, a liberal nonprofit group that O’Keefe had targeted.
L.C.V.’s letter describes an elaborate, six-month-long scheme. It alleges that the three operatives created false personas—backed up with fake Facebook, LinkedIn, and e-mail accounts—under which they met with “dozens” of the group’s staffers, board members, and donors, and gained access to “confidential” information. According to the letter, “at least two” of the individuals, who are identified as Christian Hartsock and Daniel Sandini, have reportedly worked with O’Keefe in the past, though L.C.V.’s letter acknowledges that the group doesn’t know whether O’Keefe was directly involved in the sting or merely inspired a copycat operation. Hartsock and Sandini also have connections to Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief political adviser: they both received film credits in “Occupy Unmasked,” a 2012 documentary directed by Bannon. The film’s cast notes describe Hartsock as a longtime collaborator of O’Keefe’s and a “protégé” of Andrew Breitbart, the late founder of the right-wing Web site Breitbart News, which Bannon ran prior to joining Trump’s Presidential campaign last year. They also say that Sandini is “inspired by Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.” The third individual named in the letter, Ann Vandersteel, is a conservative online commentator who has promoted conspiracy theories including “Pizzagate,” the election-season right-wing fantasy that claimed Hillary Clinton’s campaign was running a child-molestation ring in the basement of a Washington pizza parlor that, among other things, has no basement. (Hartsock declined to comment for this article, and attempts to reach Sandini and Vandersteel were unsuccessful.)…
According to the letter, the scheme began last December, when Hartsock approached L.C.V.’s Oakland, California, office pretending to be a man named Trent Maynard. He allegedly said that he represented a wealthy but politically inexperienced donor who had been motivated by Trump’s election to give to progressive causes. Hartsock presented a fake business card and mentioned that his donor friend wanted to be introduced to environmental leaders and elected officials. Soon after, L.C.V. staffers invited Hartsock to attend an Inauguration Day fundraiser for environmental groups, where he mingled with various progressive leaders…
The L.C.V. staff found some of Sandini’s behavior bizarre. At one L.C.V. event, he seemed inexplicably disappointed when he wasn’t able to present a pair of cufflinks to the California Senate’s president pro tempore, Kevin de León, after de León failed to show. The staff also noticed that he had a habit of leaving his cufflinks, and his phone, on tables during get-togethers, which, according to L.C.V.’s letter, “raises the possibility that we have been recorded without consent. We are deeply concerned that if surreptitious, unauthorized videos or recordings were made, these individuals could make deceptive edits to create unfair, malicious, and false impressions.”…
Beats looking for an honest job, I guess.
Apart from casting a cold eye on all the little criminals, what’s on the agenda for the evening?
Shouldn’t that be “strokes himself”? Works better with in “accidentally exposing his own”, IMNSHO.
ETA: Seriously, this Guy, along with Hannity, Jesse Waters, the list could go on and on … it’s assholes all the way down.
Christ, what an asshole.
Brilliant strategery there James, because the pro-conservation crowd is known for wearing French cuffs and in dire need of a new pair of cuff links.
I wonder who is paying O’Keefe’s bills? He doesn’t seem to be doing any real work other than these sorts of “documentaries”.
A Ghost to Most
@Jerzy Russian: I love the classics.
Mrs. Imm (Julie, IRL) passed away. Immanetize put the comment on the Flat Rejection Thread. I am a little confused as to whether it was yesterday, or the week before, but Julie was only 50. Reposting here:
FROM IMMANETIZE, earlier today:
Just an aside, but Dolt 45 is known for giving people cheap cuff links disguised by being inside boxes from ultra-exclusive jewelers.
@gene108: Well, his group did get a grant from the Trump foundation…
We have experience with going after these folks.
A Ghost to Most
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Goddamn it, I keep drawing twitter timeouts. This time, for mocking Melissa whatsherface’s tears on Fox.
Oh, gutting news. So sorry for Imm and his entire family. Know that she lives on in your love.
Arggh. I am so sorry to read this.
@Elizabelle: Thank you for posting this. So sorry to hear the news.
@Elizabelle: Thanks for reposting, I know I would have missed it. Condolences to Immanetize and his family.
Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds like my brother’s decline — he was never hospitalized so we just transitioned to home hospice, but he, too, was gone very very quickly.
ETA: My brother was only a year older than Mrs. Imm.
Re: Julie, Mrs. Immanetize’s comment:
That is just what you would say, and feel, when you were taken too early.
a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio)
@Elizabelle: Thank you for sharing this.
Major Major Major Major
@Elizabelle: Oh no. Thanks for reposting, I missed that. Hugs to you, Imm., should you be reading.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I know. I went in to close the tab; hadn’t looked at it for hours, and the Imm comment leapt up. Sad news, but not unexpected.
Yeah, I was about to say that conservative activists who have tried to fuck with the state of California end up regretting it, bigly. Our state Attorneys General tend not to find that shit funny.
@Elizabelle: Thank you. So sorry, Immanentize, for your loss.
Villago Delenda Est
@gene108: He’s a trust fund baby. Also, I’m sure the Kochs and the Mercers have helped out through their various political action committees.
Villago Delenda Est
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Welcome to the club. I got 24 hours for telling Franklin Graham to fuck off.
So very sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with Imm and his family.
Villago Delenda Est
@Elizabelle: Immanentize, my deep condolences. Hugs to you and yours as you grapple with this.
I’m trying very hard to avoid saying “best regards”. Cripes. What an asshole.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Kind of figured that was the case.
Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA
@Elizabelle: Very sad to read this. Immanentize, if you happen to read this, my condolences to you and your family.
Oh shit. Just … That really sucks. My heart hurts for our friend Imm and young Immp and the family.
God dammit. So much sadness.
Sympathies extended to the Imm clan.
We will keep her in our hearts while carrying on the fight.
@Elizabelle: Prayers and love to you and your family, Immanentize and young Immp.
@Elizabelle: Oh, how sad. Been there with the “blazingly fast diagnosis-to-death” scenario with family members. It’s awful, no matter how well-prepared you think you are.
@Villago Delenda Est:
And yet, Twitter has yet to give Trump a time-out.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Oh, man, I’d missed that. Thank you for reposting, E.
@Mnemosyne: And we’re such a big, fat, tempting target. “Come on over” said the spider to the fly.
@gene108: At this point would it surprise you if it were Putin?
I would bet we could put all these comments in reading form for Immanetize, when he feels ready to check back in.
“We,” of course, meaning tech wizard Alain, who is marvelous at this type of stuff. Sad to have two occasions recently. Green not Green and Julie Mrs. Imm, gone too soon.
They did not get to see our world in the USA turn to its better angels again, and I hope that is coming. Although who knows how long it will take, and what happens on the road to sanity. It’s all unscripted territory.
@Elizabelle: How awful. Peace and strength to all.
I hope the Immp manages over time to be accepting, but it would be expected and not surprising if s/he acted out.
I don’t do prayers, but I wish everyone peace and acceptance.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
@Villago Delenda Est:
Any chance of a round robin face punch off with O’Keefe, Skrelli, Cruz, Coulter, Ghomert, and too many others to mention?
@Elizabelle: Thank you for reposting that. Sad sad news.
Twitter CEO, about that.
@Elizabelle: Oh, I’m so sorry, Imm. and family! Gosh, that was horribly fast. Thank you for posting, Elizabelle.
Immanentize, if you see this, my sincerest condolences. My Julie died from cancer 5 years ago at 48. Like your Julie, the time between diagnosis and her passing was short. I remember seeing your comment when you first found out and thinking “I hope this turns out better for Immantenize.” I’m so sorry it didn’t. The only comfort I can provide is that even though it may not feel like it in the days to come, you will get through this. Again, I am so sorry.
Thank you, Elizabelle.
My deepest condolences, Immanetize.
@efgoldman: I’m not sure how old Immp is, I lost my dad just before the start of winter quarter of my senior year of college. I had little time to grieve, since school/work took most of my time and I had to concentrate on finishing up my degree.
Has anyone heard from Smiling Mortician? I hope s/he or spouse can give us an update, and of course I’m very hopeful that it’s an encouraging one.
@Elizabelle: I meant to say in my comment upthread, thank you for posting this update. I had missed seeing Imm’s sad announcement earlier.
Can’t read it because of my ad blocker (which I refuse to remove), but I’m sure it was quite the rationalization.
@West of the Rockies (been a while):
Now, now, in the modern economy the proper approach is to produce a cellphone app that quickly and easily gives the location of the nearest deserving recipient of a punch in the face. Like Uber, but for punches (and not coincidentally, the former CEO of Uber is on The List).
Thanks for posting this, sweet lady. My heart breaks for him. I think I saw a Monday comment by him. These days are running together.
I am sorry for your loss. Though it was five years ago, it must sometimes still feel all too fresh.
For Kay, who saw through these cretinous frauds immediately. Andy Borowitz nails it again.
Villago Delenda Est
@NotMax: Fuck Business Insider and their obtrusive anti-adblock crap.
Nor am I, but I thought I remembered daddy Imm saying something appropriate to middle school or high school age.
It’s entirely possible my rememberer is broken.
@SiubhanDuinne: Yes. Sending out the best to Smiling Mortician (and what a ‘nym!)
You hang in there and get better, SM.
@MJS: I wonder if you and Imm could ever end up communicating IRL, in time. What a sad shared experience, for both of you.
Yeah, this administration has really defined what a self-hating Jew is. It used to be “liberals”; it’s now been redefined as those who would turn on or desert their own.
Last fall, I know I mentioned here, my elderly cousin died after a longish decline. Her daughter made sure she voted by absentee ballot, and as a lifelong Democrat she naturally voted for Hillary.
Martha died on the Sunday, two days before the election. Her daughter and I say to each other at least once a week how grateful we are that she died fully confident that Hillary would win, and that she didn’t live to experience our current national shitshow.
@SiubhanDuinne: Thank you. I appreciate that. Time’s funny – some days it seems like a million years since I saw her, other days I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already. Sometimes time flies even if you’re not having fun, I guess.
I’ll just leave this here….No 20 minute cross burning for you, KKK, says Stone Mountain: http://www.ajc.com/news/local/kkk-request-burn-cross-stone-mountain-denied/CWIuCDe3M1qaC7PalvwYiP/
@dmsilev: I nominate Ryan for the round robin. Along with “people just need to cut down on cell phones” Chaffetz. We may need to expand this to a March Madness style event, I think it starts with 64 teams?
@Elizabelle: Thanks for sharing that. I don’t get to read every thread and had been wondering how things were going for the Imm family. Goddamn cancer.
My condolences to all who loved Julie and who will now miss her terribly. May her memory be a comfort and a blessing, always.
@debbie – @Villago Delenda Est
I use an ad blocker and have no problem accessing the site.
Here’s a link to the full interview (different site).
@Elizabelle: I would certainly be happy to do that, if he’d be agreeable. I see others mention that he has a school-aged kid. My two were in high school when it happened. If Imm is like me, right now he’s probably thinking there’s no way he can do this, but he can and will.
So sorry for his loss. Damn -50 is too Damn young???
OT, because I have no interest in the least in James O’Keefe:
The Virginia Democratic nominee for governor, Dr. Ralph Northam, election this fall, came out strongly in support of removing Confederate monuments. From the Richmond Times Disgrace:
@Elizabelle: Forwarded on….
Watching CNN at the hospital . playing video of the march. not talking over it-letting it speak for itself
Beating the same drum about it, but one of Virginia’s two state-sponsored statues in the U.S. Capitol is Robert E. Lee.
Dear Immanentize: so sorry to hear about your loss. You know that your BJ community ia always here to offer comfort and support.?
@MJS: I kind of think Immp is in high school too; he was in a robotics competition, right? Kind of sounds like a junior, or maybe sophomore to me.
You have really been there.
@Elizabelle: Imm, i am so sorry. Peace to you and the family
@gene108: I have read in the past that O’Keefe is primarily funded by Breitbart, which gets most of it’s money from the Mercers.
@Elizabelle: This is so sad & worse for Imman. My deepest condolences to him and the Immp.
@Elizabelle: Thank you for posting. Immfamily, I send my deepest condolences to you all. So very sorry for the loss of J. So very, very sorry.
@trollhattan: ??? Is this an acronym, abbreviation or nickname/proper name? Not getting it. Ah communication, how does that work?
@Elizabelle: Elizabelle, thank you for reposting. My deepest condolences to Immanetize and their son, and all theur family. Only 50 years old, and on her birthday, life is so fucking unfair sometimes.
@Elizabelle: words are inadequate in the face of immeasurable loss. Blessings of grace and solace.
@A Ghost to Most: As a South Indian, I was sorely disappointed to learn that b/c my caste was “Kshatriya” I probably had a nontrivial portion of “Aryan” (invader) blood. B/c yaknow, the “caste” system is just a religiously-enforced system of apartheid. I’m pretty dark, and had assumed my entire life that I was like the rest of South India — Dravidian, like the aborigines in Australia.
So the … dismay can run in both directions. HA!