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HALF-ISH EXCLUSIVE: It Took A Nation of Millions To Hold Back James O’Keefe’s Racist Boston Video

unindicted coconspiratorsThis is going to be difficult to hear — given how much all of you have come to lionize the Right’s greatest Candid Camera host, James Edward O’Keefe III. However, Buzzfeed has published a chain of emails detailing how a coterie of job-creating freedom fighters once micromanaged an authentic O’Keefe “pimpin’ video stang” targeting ACORN and SIEU during the 2010 Brown-Coakley senate race. Though the project was ultimately never finished, the planning emails present — in granular detail — a case study of just how James O’Keefe gets wielded as a partisan tool. You may recall that we mentioned these emails to you last June, in a piece widely criticized for a lack of buttsecks and a preponderance of words.

You will, of course, also be shocked to learn that there’s more to this story than has been reported by Buzzfeed, a digital McDonald’s® wrapper of GIFs and listicles, that (under ex-Politico writer Ben Smith’s guidance) is a real news organization now.

After the jump: A former Drama Club geek mass emails the entire Republican Party to organize his top secret, hidden-camera investigation. This is the News.

SO: Let’s first review what we’ve learned from the series of emails that Nadia Naffe (second row, to the right of O’Keefe) gave to Buzzfeed.

On January 12th, 2010, John Fund, a serial fabulist for The Wall Street Journal (top row, second square), forwarded a hot tip to Voter ID law enthusiast Michael Thielen of the Republican National Lawyers Association (not pictured, loser square). The tip, which was scorching hot, was that the Service Employees Communist International or SEIU was planning on bussing the inner-city poor folk of Massachusetts to and from their respective polling places so they could “vote.”

“If you’re black or brown,” said the delicately worded email written by Fund or his presumed source — talk radio gasbag John Batchelor (third row, second square) — the buses would “rope you in and take you to the polls, registration can be worked out.”

By midday the email had reached Heather Higgins (top row, turtleneck) a libertarian pundit that Bill Maher has a gross crush on. She then forwarded it along to a genuine Wyoming multi-millionaire and Koch brothers’ buddy Foster Friess (top row, cowboy hat), who then appears to have sent it to his whiz-kid male progeniture, Steve Friess (top row, third square).

Sometime after midnight, Steve Friess finished wrastling with a spark of inspiration, and done shared his thoughts with the group:

Wouldn’t it be great if a “ACORN sting video” could be produced about these busses?

Dad – maybe bounce this off Breitbart?

Some black /Latina conservatives could be wired for video, and get picked up on one of these busses, and show what goes on. My guess -they are offering cash, (which I am pretty sure is illegal), and I also would wager that at least some of these busses are making more than one stop with the same people – ie getting them to vote twice -though I don’t know the mechanics of that.

Heather Higgins then forwarded this idea — which being neither paranoid, nor racist, was ready for wide dissemination — to James O’Keefe (blue square) and Andrew Breitbart (second row, first square, R.I.P., bro).

O’Keefe then quickly assembled his A-Team: prostitute impersonator Hannah Giles (third row, pensive girl); statistical anomaly Nadia Naffe; and activist bros Stan Dai and Joe Basel (third row, first and last squares) with whom James would, only weeks later, be sharing a Louisiana jail cell for The Great “Phone Tampering” Caper of 2010.

It was at this point — either because O’Keefe had his previous engagements in New Orleans or because, as a former colleague put it, “He needs to crowdsource any decision he makes” — that O’Keefe enlisted EVERY CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST ALIVE.

Naffe’s emails show that, after paying to fly Naffe to Boston, James contacted Massachusetts-area conservative Amy Contrada (bottom row, second square) looking for a place to put her and Joe Basel up. They also show that he contacted Philadelphia-area private investigator Mike Roman (second row, mystery man) the founder of Election Journal and videographer behind that “New Black Panthers scaring old white ladies at the polls” nontroversy in 2008.

James had hoped that (again the PHILLY-BASED) Mike Roman could show him the “whereabouts of the busses in Boston SEIU, et al are using,” because God forbid James O’Keefe do any research himself.

When we first heard rumors of this sting in February of 2010, a source showed us emails James O’Keefe had also sent hoping to rope in assistance from the David Koch-founded and funded group FreedomWorks and the Koch-affiliated group Americans for Limited Government. He also contacted a virulent, Boston-area, anti-gay group called Mass Resistance (#puns), because … of … errr … gay voter fraud?

Though none of them recall participating in the sting, Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks, Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, and Richard McCarty of Americans for Limited Government (bottom row, first square, third square and not pictured, respectively) all verified either themselves or each other as recipients of the emails.

“I guess I got this email,” Steinhauser mumbled to us while looking at the thread in his inbox during a March 2010 phone interview. He recalled saying to Hannah Giles “let me know if you’re gonna be up there,” but never heard back. Toward the end of our conversation, we pointed out that Breitbart’s persistent presence on the email chain would suggest that he was much more abreast of O’Keefe’s sting activities in early 2010 than he’d told reporters after JOK’s New Orleans fuck-up.

“I don’t like where this is going,” Steinhauser told us, ending the call.

When we called Mike Roman about this story that same month, he became heated and belligerent, repeatedly saying of O’Keefe that he’d, “Never met the guy. Never listed polling places.” He then threatened to sue us if we ran with this largely factual, non-libelous story. (Roman has yet to reply to our email asking if he plans on suing Buzzfeed, which, just saying, has tons of money and is hiring like crazy.)

Who’s left?

Teen pregnancy denier and Iowa Congressman Steve King (bottom row, final square) who had flown into Massachusetts for the Brown/Coakley senate race as some kinda voter integrity observer. Naffe told Buzzfeed that Congressman King was waiting at the hotel to greet her and Joe Basel before the election, taking them to dinner and giving them “a pep talk about illegal voting.”

Obviously, when we contacted representatives from King’s offices they denied that the congressman gave “a pep talk” to collaborators in a James O’Keefe sting.

Which is why we prank called Joe Basel — posing as a representative for Congressman King who we said was frantically hoping to contact him before some dirty muckraking reporters from The Washington Post could ask him to corroborate Naffe’s story.

“I don’t think Nadia or I had dinner with anyone that night, certainly not a congressman,” Basel told cowriter Matthew Phelan posing as a congressional staffer. In fact, Basel did not recall having dinner that evening at all, just “some cookies” at Scott Brown’s victory party. Delicious!

If there’s a lesson to be taken away from this — and we are not entirely confident there is — it probably has something to with all of these people being dishonest, delusional or incompetent.

Nadia Naffe!!!1! Please, PLEASE, PLZ, in the future do not embellish upon your damaging stories about Jameson Jimmy Johns O’Keefe Number Three. It was good enough already! We are still rooting for you!

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141 comments

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    "granular detail"

    Arrrrgggghhh! A clever modern business catchword!!

    *shoots self in head*

        1. Baconzgood

          I always hated "think outside the box" and would insist if someone said it in a meeting of retreat that they give everyone in the room a dollar.

    1. MissTaken

      Can we please take this offline? I think we need to think outside of the box and perform a SWOT analysis to see how to best capitalize on our collective strengths and weaknesses.

      and buttsechs.

      1. SorosBot

        We need to switch to a more proactive core paradigm too, in accordance with Sigma Six principles.

        1. actor212

          Whoa! Let's not put the cart before the horse here! We ought to committee-source this to outside the boxers and see if there's a proactive synergy to bring to the table.

          Elevator-pitch me your thoughts and I'll see if I can make it an actionable item at the next circle-back, otherwise, this is just low-hanging fruit¹

          ¹I should point out that, in making fun of my boss, I once wrote a seven page memo asking for a glass of water.

    1. mrpuma2u

      activist bros Stan Dai and Joe Basel (third row, first and last squares) with whom James would, only weeks later, be sharing a Louisiana jail cell

      There is potential buttsecks here, you know these weasels ended up as somebody's prison bitch.

  2. Schmannnity

    It is nice to know that John Fund has time for other pursuits than beating his girlfriend.

  3. LastGasp

    'If you’re black or brown,' said the delicately worded email written by Fund or his presumed source — talk radio gasbag John Batchelor (third row, second square) — the buses would 'rope you in… '

    Did someone just make a Freudian slip re: lynching, or am I alone in asking this?

  4. LibertyLover

    Where is the boat filled with real partisan "tools" in this story?

    (And by "partisan tool" – do you mean O'Keefe "dresses to the right?")

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    Is Nadia Naffe a statistical anomaly because she is a black person running with conservoturds, or because she is a fairly attractive woman who is running with O'Keefe?

  6. Estproph

    "Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance"…"(bottom row, … third square"

    Why is he the gheyest-looking person on this picture?

  7. fartknocker

    All I did was read the headline and and the name Foster Friess. If memory serves me correctly he was a Santorum contributor and supported using Bayer Aspirin squeezed by lady knees as a method of birth control. No need for me to read any further.

  8. Oblios_Cap

    Heather Higgins (top row, turtleneck) a libertarian pundit that Bill Maher has a gross crush on.

    Bill's taste in womenz is pretty shitty.

      1. Gorillionaire

        That video probably already exists somewhere, on a pile of similar videos, all unlableled, in the "needs to be labeled" stack.

  9. actor212

    Wouldn’t it be great if a “ACORN sting video” could be produced about these busses?

    Either rich people can't spell too good, or SEIU was offering to kiss voters.

  10. LibertyLover

    Some black /Latina conservatives could be wired for video, and get picked up on one of these busses, and show what goes on. My guess -they are offering cash, (which I am pretty sure is illegal), and I also would wager that at least some of these busses are making more than one stop with the same people – ie getting them to vote twice -though I don’t know the mechanics of that.

    Honestly. What makes people think like this? Oh yeah… this is what they would do.

    1. SorosBot

      Yeah, because Republicans are willing to cheat every way possible to win elections, they assume liberals are willing to do the same, even though we aren't. But then they don't care about facts.

    2. tessiee

      "My guess -they are offering cash, (which I am pretty sure is illegal), and I also would wager that at least some of these busses are making more than one stop with the same people"

      My guess is that Paul Ryan spends his Saturday nights deflowering goats by the side of the road, and I also would wager that Mitt Romney gets sloppy seconds at least some of the time.

  11. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Man, this is longer than a Doktor Zoom post. And not one dick joke!

    ps – I'm assuming no dick jokes after scratching my head over first 3 paragraphs.

  12. coolhandnuke

    The picture is like some Brady Bunch montage of 16 people who raise the question–"who would you rather fuck, me or Sam the Butcher?"

    1. coolhandnuke

      That's some weird wild shit. It's like your Marsha and I'm Greg, partitioned, but I'm staring down your blouse and you're thinking about that dreamy Davey Jones.

        1. coolhandnuke

          Or am I Marsha and you're Greg and you're catching an upskirt of my underoos while my mind wanders to the Johnny Bravo World Tour '73.

  13. edgydrifter

    So, basically this is the Republican version of the "telephone" game, beginning with John Fund sticking his tongue in Michael Thielen's ear and ending with Joe Basel vomiting in Steve King's lap? I am strangely not at all outraged by the thought of that.

  14. Goonemeritus

    Driving people to the polls doesn’t seem that nefarious to me but then I’m a Trotskyite.

  15. MissTaken

    ♫ 16 bags of douche on the wall
    16 bags of douche
    You take one down
    Dick-smack him around
    Still 16 bags of douche on the wall ♫

  16. Mumbletypeg

    You may recall that we mentioned these emails to you last June, in a piece widely criticized for a lack of buttsecks and a preponderance of words.

    You guys, you guys! The authors above took PAINS to note how they are not exactly known for dropping buttsecks jokes OR using brevity! And yet here are all these comments wantin to know "Where da buttssecks at?" and "tldr" —

    – oh that's right, we aren't here to read the thing actually; just to make jokes.

  17. randcoolcatdaddy

    Moral of the story: You can, dear friends, make a living by simply sitting around forwarding spam from Republicans all day to other people who make their living forwarding Republican spam all day.

    The New Economy? Virtual circle jerk? World of Warcraft? You decide.

  18. Mumbletypeg

    You may recall that we mentioned these emails to you last June

    Who here remembers last June, even? raise your hands.
    Now, who here cares not to remember last June — and we could form a club.

  19. FakaktaSouth

    "I bet they are offering cash" because no one registers to VOTE, and needing a ride has nothing to do with being ABLE to and WHY would ANYONE call these people RACISTS? ever? I bet they are offering cash, because that's how WE would do it, we would offer some Latino/as some cash to wear a fucking wire. I hate this, I hate these people, I hate how they are working so hard to fuck with things when if they would just work this hard to make stuff suck less, it would.

    1. Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Hahaha….nice rant but lets look at the facts and evidence. Exhibit A: LOOK AT THEM! Do you think a single one of the flatulent ass goblins has ever so much as thought about anyone aside from themselves? Except for Steve King…he thinks about and then creates eerily detailed stories of 13 year old girls being raped and forced to get an abortion. But the rest of these empty skinsack shitbags? Not a chance…at least Naif appears to have been squicked out by the right so there's hope for her I guess.

  20. prommie

    Nope, there just isn't enough ass-fucking here to make this fap-worthy at all. Sorry. You lost me with the whinge-bragging about how you had the scoop last June.

  21. BlueStateLibel

    That's a lot of words to read, I just skipped to the buzzfeed job listings. And they have ponies there, for real. What is this magic company? Also, in the photos above, is that James O'Keefe's "smart person" disguise?

  22. tessiee

    Haven't read the article yet, but the picture reminds me of this classic MST3K riff:

    "Hey, look! Robbie Benson, Jack Burns, Andrea Martin, Dennis Hopper, Jodie Huson, Garry Shandling, Paul Reiser, Peter Cook, Junior Samples, Elaine Boosler, Adam Sandler, Barry Sobel! And there's Garth Brooks, Bruce Miller, Les Paul, Patrick Swayze as Gandhi, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Robert Carradine, Bruno Kirby, Griffin Dunne, Mike Nichols, Ron Reagan! Demi Moore, Gabriel Byrne, Gallagher, Robert Loggia, Janis Joplin, and Jonathan Schwarz! Oh ho! There's Lyle Waggoner, Tom Dreisden, Steve Rubell, Alan Alda, Michael Ironside, kd lang, Kate Clinton, Lee Van Cleef, Marlee Matlin, David Byrne, Linda Hunt, Leslie West, Sandy Duncan, Craig T Nelson, David Letterman, Tony Danza, Anthony Quinn, Edie Brickell, and Tony Bill! Cool! And Roland Gibb, Tracy Kozinski, and Rene Auberjonois! John Hurt, Cicely Tyson, Michael Perry! Persis Khambatta! And … I can't place him. Paper Chase guy?"

  23. MissTaken

    In fact, Basel did not recall having dinner that evening at all, just “some cookies” at Scott Brown’s victory party. Delicious!

    Sure he's an idiot who poses nude with a truck and has a weird fascination with white women playing Pocahontas, but he has cookies. Cookies!

  24. BornInATrailer

    Undone by the colored girl? That'll teach this sleeve of crackers not to trust their gut.

  25. HempDogbane

    "Dad – maybe bounce this off Breitbart?" is my new catch-phrase, replacing "Ooh, a lit'l bit o' snot."

  26. docterry6973

    Research and investigative reporting and trick phone calls? Seems like a lot of trouble to go to just to give us something to snark on. Unless there are larger plans afoot…The Schoenkopf Report?

  27. mercianomad

    That picture needs to be made into an animated .GIF with Alice the maid from Brady Bunch in the center of it looking up, down, and all around.

  28. AncienReggie

    Do these idiots know that "busses" means kisses? Cause, you know, buses — and busing — they're not the same thing. Forced bussing, e.g., that's like close to legitimate forcible osculation.

  29. ttommyunger

    Helpful hint: for those of you (like me) who have trouble telling John Fund and George Will apart; John Fund talks through his nose, George Will talks through his ass.

  30. Negropolis

    Do not EVER use the term "listicles", again. I will not tolerate that, I will not abide in that.

  31. Negropolis

    Sorry, but this story has more twists than a eastside Detroit salon and more turns than an inner-city Boston avenue.

    Needz moar brevity.

  32. lulzmonger

    TIL: That it takes circa 15 wingnuts at least a month to engineer exactly the kind of infantile trolling that two stoned fratboys could pull off in 20 minutes. But they still somehow wind up fucking it up anyway, even with buku money & a belly full of hate to push the project forward.

    Naaaaaah, just fuckin' with yez – I already knew that.

Comments are closed.