On Monday afternoon, the Washington Post published a stunning account of a conservative organization’s foiled attempt to plant a false story in the paper accusing a Republican candidate of impregnating a teenager in the ’90s. On Monday evening, the organization’s flamboyant chief chair insisted that it was the Post, not him and his agents, who were revealed as duplicitous dupes.
Through rigorous due diligence on the part of the Post’s reporters and a baffling lack of stealth on the part of the would-be saboteurs, the story detailed an operation fronted by conservative shit-stirrer James O’Keefe to undermine the paper’s reporting on U.S. Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore. Earlier this month, the Post reported, a woman purporting to work at a lending agency in New York’s Westchester County approached a reporter alleging that Moore, who has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior towards half a dozen teenage girls, had impregnated her and forced her to get an abortion when she was 15 years old.
In the course of standard background research—with which O’Keefe and his organization are, apparently, unfamiliar—reporters discovered holes in Phillips’ story. The company she had named as her employer had no record of her, she had a cell phone number with an Alabama area code despite saying she had last lived there in 1992, and a GoFundMe page published in May under her name had asked friends for money so that she could move to New York “to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] of the liberal MSM.”
When confronted by Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen about the GoFundMe page and other inconsistencies in her story—an exchange that was recorded on video—Phillips stated that she had previously attempted to work for conservative website The Daily Caller and that she was not working for any conservative organizations with the intent of sabotaging the paper. Phillips, who then left the meeting, was spotted entering the Westchester offices of Project Veritas on Monday, where O’Keefe refused to say whether she was employed at the non-profit, which purports to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct.”
Once the Post’s story was published, however, O’Keefe broke his silence by announcing the release of videos in which a reporter at the paper details the distinction between the newsroom and the editorial board, a potential bombshell for those who might not understand the meaning of the word “editorial.”
In a fundraising email to Project Veritas supporters, O’Keefe told potential donors that Phillips, an “investigative journalist embedded within [the Post],” had her cover blown. “The good news is… we already got our story,” he continued (ellipsis his own).
O’Keefe’s attempts to spin the blown operation targeting the Washington Post’s credibility—which instead showed how the newspaper’s reporters were able to detect a false accuser—was far from the first time he and his organization have attempted to declare victory after being publicly clowned.
In 2010, O’Keefe attempted to “punk” CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau by setting up a “pleasure palace” on a boat, aboard which he hoped to seduce her with a spread that included multiple dildos and a jar of condoms. “Abbie has been trying to seduce me to sue me, in order to spin a lie about me,” O’Keefe’s script read. “So I’m going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video.” Boudreau, who was scheduled to interview O’Keefe for a documentary about young conservatives, was warned of the setup by one of his staffers.
That same year, an attempt by Project Veritas to tamper with U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s office phone lines ended with O’Keefe and three compatriots pleading guilty to entering a federal building under false pretenses. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine.
In 2016, O’Keefe’s attempt to meddle with Democratic megadonor George Soros’ foundation were thwarted when he forgot to hang up his phone during a call to the organization, leaving a ten-minute recording detailing his intended sabotage.