A little over a year ago, we discussed the legal tribulations of James O’Keefe, the scuzzy grifter who founded Project Veritas, related to the theft of the president’s daughter’s diary and other material. Earlier this year, Anne Laurie covered O’Keefe’s departure from PV amid accusations of financial malfeasance.
WaPo obtained a report from an audit conducted by a law firm hired by PV after O’Keefe skedaddled, and, as WaPo puts it, “the report raises questions about whether O’Keefe complied with laws that prohibit nonprofit leaders from using the organization’s funds for their personal benefit.” Hoo-boy, does it ever!
In August 2022, James O’Keefe needed to get to Maine for a sailing trip. Rather than take a commercial flight for roughly $200, the conservative undercover-video activist directed his employees to book a $12,000 helicopter flight direct from New York to the seaside town of Southwest Harbor, using funds donated to Project Veritas, the nonprofit he founded, according to a draft of a private internal audit conducted by an independent law firm.
When bad weather forced the helicopter to make an unscheduled landing in Portland, O’Keefe booked a $1,400 black car for the three-hour drive from the helipad to the sailboat. O’Keefe justified the expenses by saying that he had a meeting near the dock, the audit stated. Two Project Veritas staffers described the person he met with to The Washington Post as a low-level donor…
There was $208,980 worth of luxury black-car travel over a two-year period. There was a $600 haul of bottled water during one hotel stay in San Antonio. There was even a $2,500 set of DJ equipment; O’Keefe dreamed of playing a set at Coachella, according to two former employees, and was irritated when his staff couldn’t get him booked at the legendary California music festival.
Sounds like he went all Kim Jong-un on them. But I think this is my favorite part:
In September 2021, according to the report, Hurricane Ida floodwaters threatened to destroy the Project Veritas office in Mamaroneck. The staff scrambled to save equipment and their own lives — one elderly employee was briefly pulled underwater and had to be rescued by colleagues. But O’Keefe had already left the scene, asking employees to prioritize his own evacuation so he could make it to Virginia for a performance of the musical “Oklahoma!” in which he had the lead role, according to staffers cited by the audit.
“Don’t worry, everything will be okay,” O’Keefe told his employees, according to recollection of a staffer cited in the audit, “but help me get out of here.” In 2022, Project Veritas admitted in a tax filing to improperly spending $20,500 moving some staff operations to Virginia during O’Keefe’s time with the musical production for his convenience.
Is it possible they’re just all like this? Grifty, selfish and profligate, I mean? O’Keefe was eagerly embraced by fellow Repub greed-head Donald Trump but wasn’t elevated by Emperor Tang. So no one can blame Trump for O’Keefe. Also, it’s been true for years that if you lightly scratch even the most buttoned-down and sober-seeming “conservative,” corruption and cupidity gush out. (See Bush, Neil, etc.)
Sometimes language evolves in such a way that in modern usage, a word means the opposite of what it meant originally. Something like that seems to be happening to the word “conservative.” Or maybe it’s been a contronym all along.
Anyhoo, O’Keefe is just a boy who cain’t say no, now he’s in a turrrrrible fix! Or at least I hope so.
ETA: WaPo gift link to the article.