In a shocking development, James O’Keefe announced last week that he was out at Project Veritas, the investigative journalism group he founded over 10 years ago, after a conflict with the group’s board of directors.
Under O’Keefe’s leadership, the group has taken on the biggest names in politics, journalism, tech, and healthcare, with a unique style of undercover videos and work with whistleblowers, all while earning the ire of the legacy media.
Project Veritas was officially launched by O’Keefe in 2011 as a non-profit organization with the goal of exposing corruption in public and private institutions. Since that time it has broken many major stories and shifted the narrative, from influencing election integrity in New Hampshire to embarrassing CNN over its coverage of race.
While some critics have labeled the style of Project Veritas’ work deceptive, much of the content revealed through the sting operations would not be known by following the traditional question-and-answer mode of journalism.
Here are five of the biggest stories put out by Project Veritas during O’Keefe’s tenure.
The first major break for O’Keefe came with undercover videos filmed of activist group ACORN during the Obama administration. While the ACORN story was released before Project Veritas was officially created, it shot O’Keefe to prominence and offered a preview of the kind of journalism O’Keefe and his team would follow.
In 2009, O’Keefe and Hannah Giles went into ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now] offices and posed as a pimp and a prostitute. According to the videos put out by O’Keefe, ACORN staffers appeared to offer O’Keefe advice on how to avoid scrutiny of the IRS while running a brothel and discuss sex trafficking.
The story exploded with a spokesman for the group calling the portrayal “false and defamatory.” Even President Obama weighed in, calling the actions in the video “inappropriate” and worthy of investigation.
While an outside probe later cleared ACORN of illegal activity, the videos did lead to concrete action with Congress cutting funding for the group, and the IRS and the Census Bureau dropping their relationship with the activist organization.
In the end, the group closed down in 2010, just months after O’Keefe’s investigation.
Hillary Clinton Campaign Story
During the vicious 2016 presidential campaign, Project Veritas put out several major videos, taken from groups associated with the Clinton campaign, that appeared to show Democrat operatives discussing their strategies to provoke violence at Trump rallies and other ethically dubious campaign tactics.
For example, Democrat operative Scott Foval said in the videos that there was a “script” put out at Trump events to attempt to get the “crazies” to “bite.”
“It is not hard to get some of these assholes to pop off,” Foval said. “It’s a matter of showing up to want to get into the rally in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt, or ‘Trump is a Nazi,’ you know. You can message to draw them out, and draw them to punch you.”
Both Foval and Democrat activist Robert Cramer ended up losing their jobs as a result of the videos, though both claimed that their comments were taken out of context.
Google And Political Bias
In July 2019, Project Veritas released a video of Greg Coppola, a senior Google engineer, saying that the tech giant designed its algorithms in a way that was biased against conservatives.
“I’ve been coding since I was ten [years old],” Coppola told Project Veritas in the interview. “I have a PhD, I have five years’ experience at Google and I just know how algorithms are. They don’t write themselves. We write them to do what want them to do.”
“I think for a while we had tech that was politically neutral,” Coppola said in the video. “Now we have tech that really, first of all is taking sides in a political contest, which I think, you know, anytime you have big corporate power merging with political parties can be dangerous.”
Google has consistently maintained that it is politically neutral, but many conservatives remain unconvinced.
According to Coppola, the crackdown by tech companies on conservative viewpoints began with the rise of Trump. Since Coppola’s comments, the battle between tech and conservatives has only grown fiercer.
ABC Drops Interview With Jeffrey Epstein Accuser
One of the most explosive Project Veritas stories came in 2019, with the publication of a video obtained from an ABC insider showing host Amy Robach discussing her frustration that the network killed a story she wanted to do with an accuser of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
“I had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, ‘Who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story. Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that we, that also quashed the story,” Robach said in the video.
She said that they had photos to back up the claims. “It was unbelievable what we had. Clinton. We had everything. I tried for three years to get it on to no avail and now it is all coming out and it is like these new revelations and I freaking had all of it,” Robach added.
The network later said that the material they had did not meet its editorial standards, but the video raised questions about media coverage of Epstein, who was often seen with the rich and famous before his arrest and subsequent death in jail.
Pfizer And The COVID ‘Cash Cow’
In January, Project Veritas put out a bombshell video of a Pfizer official appearing to describe either proposed or ongoing experiments by the pharmaceutical firm. The video, which quickly racked up millions of views, shows Pfizer’s director of research and development, Jordan Walker, divulging that the company has considered mutating COVID through “directed evolution” in monkeys to develop new vaccines.
The video quickly raised questions about what kind of research Pfizer was conducting, and its view of the pandemic with Walker referring to COVID as a potential “cash cow” for years to come.
Days after the video, Pfizer denied that it was conducting gain-of-function style research on COVID, but many remained skeptical. Project Veritas later released a video where Walker appeared to admit that Pfizer was aware of potential side effects of the vaccine on women’s fertility.
The Pfizer videos were representative of the work of Project Veritas during O’Keefe’s era: an undercover sting of one of the most powerful companies in America that few would dare attempt.
The group’s tactics and targeting of powerful entities found it in the crosshairs of corporations, nonprofits, Democrat operatives, the legacy media, and even the federal government. In November 2021, O’Keefe’s home was raided by the FBI in connection with a stolen diary reportedly belonging to Ashley Biden.
O’Keefe’s ability to continue putting out narrative-shifting videos is part of what made it so shocking when he announced he was out at the company last week. The board accused him of financial mismanagement and some of the group’s employees had accused him of poor behavior. Many of the group’s former whistleblowers, however, have come out in support of O’Keefe, through both videos and letters.
While O’Keefe may be done with Project Veritas, he is not done with investigative journalism, already hinting at forming a new organization.
“Our mission continues on. I’m not done,” he said in a recent video. “The mission will perhaps take on a new name.”