Ousted Project Veritas Leader Under Investigation

James O'Keefe may be in hot water with prosecutors in New York state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2023 2:29 PM CDT
Ousted Project Veritas Leader Under Investigation
A file photo of James O'Keefe.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The founder of Project Veritas, a conservative nonprofit known for its hidden camera stings, is under investigation by a suburban New York prosecutor's office in the latest fallout after his ouster from the group over allegations that he mistreated workers and misspent organization funds. The Westchester County district attorney's office confirmed Friday it is "looking into" matters concerning James O'Keefe, who was suspended in February and later fired as chairman and CEO, per the AP. The Project Veritas board said he spent "an excessive amount of donor funds" on personal luxuries.

Jin Whang, a spokesperson for District Attorney Mimi Rocah, declined to discuss the subject or details of the investigation, or what potential charges, if any, O'Keefe could face. Whang cautioned that investigations can have a variety of outcomes, not necessarily resulting in criminal charges. News of the probe was first reported by The Nation. O'Keefe's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, blamed the investigation on "disgruntled former employees of Project Veritas who had a problem with their CEO using too many car services to pay for fundraising efforts which paid their salaries."

In 2010, O'Keefe founded Project Veritas, which identifies itself as a news organization. Its most recent IRS filings show it brought in more than $20 million in revenue in 2021. Over the years its hidden-cameras have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations, and Democratic politicians. The organization sued O'Keefe in May, accusing him of breaching his contract with "incredibly troubling workplace and financial misconduct," including screaming at colleagues, exposing employees to obscene messages, and having staffers run errands for him, such as picking up laundry and cleaning his boat.

(More Project Veritas stories.)

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