alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

ACORN Smear Journalist Arrested for Alleged Attempt to Bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's Office

James O’Keefe, the young right-wing activist who posed as a pimp to “break” the ACORN “scandal,” has been arrested by the FBI, along with three alleged accomplices, for attempting to bug the New Orleans offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). 

According to a federal affidavit, O’Keefe, along with Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24 years of age, entered the federal building on Monday dressed as telephone company repairmen. According to the Times-Picayune, O’Keefe had entered the office and told a staffer that he was waiting for someone else to arrive. The three other men wore “jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats.”  

By accounts, it was a clownish operation. Basel and Flanagan said they were there to repair a phone problem, gained access to the phone system, and were caught when they told a General Services Administration employee that they’d left their credentials in the car. According to the Times-Picayune, O’Keefe attempted to record the entire incident on his cell phone. 

According to Talking Points Memo, Flanagan is the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan.    

Last September, O’Keefe and an associate, Hannah Giles, posed as a pimp and a prostitute -- or what conservative college students believe pimps and prostitutes look like -- and recorded themselves asking workers for ACORN, a group that advocates for the poor, how to set up shop in the community. Several low-level ACORN employees took the bait, and the resulting video became a sensation on Fox news and conservative blogs.  

ACORN fired the staffers, but conservatives in Congress used the scandal to pass the Defund ACORN Act, which a Federal judge declared unconstitutional in December

That “investigation” was made famous by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood, a prominent right-wing blog. Reached by Talking Points Memo for comment,. Breitbart said: "I need to find information on this. I'm out of the loop on this. I will make my determination then on when to comment." 

While the gotcha video on ACORN made O’Keefe and Giles stars of the right, the alleged attempt to bug a sitting United States Senator’s office is hardly a prank. The four men are charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.