James O’Keefe has been busy in Colorado, according to Mother Jones:

Last week, O’Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O’Keefe or his colleagues.

Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O’Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others. Recently, the 30-year-old O’Keefe has targeted the Senate campaigns ofArkansas Democrat Mark Pryor and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by filming undercover videos of staffers or the candidate.

I like to call O’Keefe’s special style “strangers with strange conversations.” The objective of his operations is to obtain embarrassing audio or video, and failing that, to obtain audio or video that can be deceptively edited into something embarrassing. To this end, teams attempt to engage targeted staffers and personnel on inappropriate discussion topics. Here are the top six signs that you or your organization are being targeted this way by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas:

1. You see a man who looks like James O’Keefe. This may seem obvious, but let’s underscore the fact that O’Keefe sucks at disguises and has very distinctive features. When he tried to infiltrate the Occupy encampment dressed like a nerdy Wall Street flunky, he was spotted within ten seconds of his arrival at Zuccotti Park. O’Keefe made no attempt to change his appearance when he was arrested in Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. There is absolutely no reason why every progressive organization, nonprofit, or Democratic Party office shouldn’t have his photo posted at the reception area with the words “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?” printed underneath. By that same token, his voice is unique enough that staffs should be taught to recognize it.

No, James, the mustache does not render you incognito
No, James, the mustache does not render you incognito.

2. The man who looks like James O’Keefe says something weird. CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau felt that something was off about O’Keefe’s insistence on recording their interview. When Landrieu’s office staff asked O’Keefe what he was doing there, he replied evasively that he was waiting for someone. The ACORN employees who met him all felt that he wasn’t quite right, but of course they reacted in different ways because they weren’t sure what he was doing: some shooed him away and called the police, while others just tried to answer his questions and get him out the door. Perhaps suspecting she was on a reality show, one employee at the Los Angeles ACORN office clearly mugged to the camera when his reactions to her stopped making sense. Rebecca Tickell, one of O’Keefe’s victims in his attempted fracking documentary sting, “sensed that something was up.” Every victim of an O’Keefe sting has reported something ‘confusing’ or ‘off’ about him; that’s his agenda showing.

3. The man who looks like James O’Keefe has employees who loathe him. There’s a good reason O’Keefe goes through people like crap goes through a goose: he’s quite possibly the world’s worst boss, and he’s at his worst when defaming former employees. His libelous ways (or his handsy style) eventually proved too much for Hannah Giles; his creepy, rapey white boy act turned Nadia Naffe against him; his attempt to woo Abbie Boudreau was undone when Izzy Santa turned on him; he occasionally gets sued for wrongful termination. Yet because there is always a steady supply of suckers in the conservative movement who welcome the chance to work with the ‘rock star,’ O’Keefe never lacks for fresh meat to throw into the fray with hidden cameras and lame pretexts. (He never lacks for donors, either, who still seem to think that these ‘stings’ have some legitimacy outside the wingnutosphere.)


4. The man who looks like James O’Keefe (or one of his employees) wants to do something illegal. During his latest series of attempted ‘stings,’ O’Keefe and two associates tried entering the Fort Collins office of progressive nonprofit New Era Colorado with stacks of Mark Udall campaign literature in an effort to harm that organization’s tax-exempt status by creating the illusion of campaign coordination. One of his cat’s paws asked a Democratic staffer if he could fill out and return ballots for students who had moved away, but were still getting mail on campus. Another asked a Udall staffer if she could fill out and submit blank ballots that she had found in a trash can. During his 2012 sting of Rep. Jim Moran, O’Keefe succeeded in getting the candidate’s son to discuss hypothetical election fraud tactics with him. Of course, his ACORN sting consisted of several failed attempts to get volunteers and employees to discuss his notional immigration-and-prostitution scheme with Hannah Giles. The raw material of these conversations is then subjected to dishonest editing.

5. The man who looks like James O’Keefe (or one of his employees) asks you to do something sketchy. Separate from the previous point, but complimentary to it, is the part of O’Keefe’s agent provocateur act where he tries to elicit unprofessional or immoral behavior. He wanted Josh Fox to agree to take money for his Gasland documentaries without knowing the source of the funds. He asked Juan Carlos Vera, the ACORN employee who successfully sued O’Keefe for libel, whether he knew how to bring undocumented immigrants into the country. He has tried to bait workers for Battleground Texas into taking unethical actions. He tried and failed to get campaign staffers for Allison Lundergan Grimes to contradict her platform on coal. During his prank calls to Planned Parenthood, he offered to contribute to the organization if his money could be earmarked for aborting black fetuses. The weirder the arrangement, the more likely you are being trolled by James O’Keefe.


6. The man who looks like James O’Keefe (or his employees) claim to be part of a sketchy organization. Ultimately, O’Keefe’s fracking ‘sting’ fell apart because the web presence to which he referred his marks was a dead end of incomplete information that raised more questions than it answered. During their recent attempts to project voting fraud on Colorado Democrats, O’Keefe’s operators told staffers that they were activists with “Rocky Mountain Vote Pride,” a fake organization that consists of a Facebook page and a badly-written web page without any press or PR anywhere in Google. In his NPR sting, which was oddly debunked by Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, O’Keefe tried to set up the news organization for a meeting with nameless potential donors who would pretend to represent the Muslim Brotherhood.


Remember this simple rule: if you are a progressive social activist or a Democratic campaign staffer, and you think you might be getting stung by James O’Keefe, then you probably are. Just because you’re paranoid does not mean that James O’Keefe isn’t out to get you.