Independent filmmaker James O’Keefe was arrested this week along with three others, including the son of a federal prosecutor, and accused of trying to interfere with the phones at Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office. O’Keefe exposed the illegal operations of the liberal group ACORN by posing as a pimp on hidden camera. O’Keefe, accompanied by a young woman posing as a prostitute, shot videos in various ACORN offices where staffers appeared to offer illegal tax advice and to support the misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children. O’Keefe is now accused in an attempt to tamper with phone lines at Landrieu’s office inside a federal building. It’s not clear what O’Keefe was trying to accomplish.
Landrieu secured as much as $300-million for Louisiana’s medicaid program for her vote allowing debate to begin on the national health care bill. Landrieu told her fellow senators she is “proud” of the move she made. Critics have called her actions “the new Louisiana Purchase.” Her father, Moon Landrieu, was a celebrated mayor of New Orleans and Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Carter administration. Her brother, Mitch Landrieu, is the state’s lieutenant governor. In 2008, Landrieu, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, won some $470 million in funding for projects targeted to her state.
O’Keefe was already sitting in the waiting area and recorded Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested. The men wore white hard harts, tool belts and flourescent vests and said they needed to fix a problem with the phone system. According to an FBI affidavit. Click here to read the affidavit. Flanagan and Basel asked for access to the main phone at the reception desk. After handling the phone, Flanagan and Basel next requested access to the telephone closet because they needed to perform work on the main telephone system. It is not clear why O’Keefe wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones. One of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. Democrats are calling the plot a “Louisiana Watergate.”
O’Keefe said only “veritas,” Latin for truth, as he left jail with suspects Stan Dai and Joseph Basel. As he got into a cab outside the jail, O’Keefe said, “The truth shall set me free.” Flanagan recently criticized Landrieu for her vote on the Senate health care bill. Flanagan wrote in a Nov. 25 post on the Web site for the Pelican Institute, “Do not be fooled into believing Landrieu is helping the state of Louisiana.” His father, Bill, is the acting U.S. Attorney based in Shreveport. He was first assistant under President George W. Bush appointee Donald Washington before Washington stepped down this month. Dai, who was arrested outside the building, is a former assistant director of a program at Trinity Washington University that taught students about careers in intelligence. He was also active in the conservative newspaper and other organizations at George Washington University. O’Keefe and Basel are also active in conservative publications at their respective colleges, Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota-Morris. If convicted, each suspect faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any prison term, according the Justice Department.
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