James O’Keefe’s right-wing political shop Project Veritas published a video today in which O’Keefe interviewed a “whistleblower” who alleged that Google systemically discriminated against conservatives in its search products. But O’Keefe’s rollout had a glaring oversight: the Google whistleblower is an ardent conspiracy theorist, or rather—in the words of his Twitter handle—a “perpetual maniac.”
On his Twitter account, @Perpetualmaniac, [Zach] Vorhies repeatedly attacks Jewish people and accuses them of a wide range of crimes. (Both O’Keefe and his group, Project Veritas, promoted Vorhies’s Twitter account in tweets on Monday.)
He even alleges that “Zionists” killed conservative publisher and O’Keefe mentor Andrew Breitbart, who died of heart failure in 2012.
Vorhies also regularly uses symbols and language popular with white supremacists online. In multiple tweets, he referenced “ZOG” — long-time white supremacist abbreviation for the “Zionist Occupation Government,” the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government is controlled by Jewish interests. In one tweet, he used #ZOG and #Illuminati hashtags to allege that an election was being stolen in Florida. In another, he accused the public-interest group Free Press of being a front for a Jewish cabal.
James O’Keefe’s anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist “whistleblower” has started to mass-delete his tweets attacking Jews and promoting QAnon after my story on him. Before/after: pic.twitter.com/sXp5zyp9DT
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) August 14, 2019
Project Veritas’ latest attempt at validating the unfounded right-wing narratives that allege major tech companies program their products to disfavor conservatives resulted in yet another humiliating self-own for O’Keefe, whose career has been punctuated with embarrassments. Despite its failures, the media produced by O’Keefe’s shop has been cited in Congress by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz to justify conservative agenda items.
Project Veritas and O’Keefe possess a trait that is an effective superpower in conservative media: shamelessness. But despite this, conservatives continue to cut Project Veritas checks and Republicans on Capitol Hill still wheel out the organization’s shoddy work to validate their talking points.
In 2017, O’Keefe attempted to bait The Washington Post into running false claims from someone who appeared to be a Project Veritas operative, who told the paper that then-U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager. Project Veritas’ attempt to sting the Post failed and the paper instead stung O’Keefe, who declined to answer questions about the botched operation. The same year, O’Keefe teased and released tapes that were supposed to be damning for CNN staff, but the tapes were nearly a decade old and fell flat.
One year prior, O’Keefe phoned Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic project of billionaire George Soros, during what was apparently meant to be an instructional call for Project Veritas staff. O’Keefe failed to hang up the phone before detailing his strategy for penetrating liberal nonprofit groups, effectively handing over a recording of his plans to the nonprofit foundation.
Project Veritas staff botched a 2015 sting on Hillary Clinton campaign staffers, during which Project Veritas staff brought a Canadian to offer Clinton staffers a donation in exchange for T-shirts at a campaign rally. The Clinton staffers refused the money from the Canadian but agreed to let another O’Keefe staffer who was American make the $75 contribution. Project Veritas admitted to acting illegally by facilitating the donation. In 2014, O’Keefe tried and failed to lure Democratic staffers in Colorado into voicing support for voter fraud by using a cartoonish disguise method: growing a mustache.
O’Keefe was arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for “entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses” after a 2010 scheme to tamper with the phones in a Democratic senator’s office was foiled when O’Keefe and three others were caught in the process. Later that year, O’Keefe was busted attempting to lure Abbie Boudreau, then a CNN correspondent, onto a boat “filled with sexually explicit props and then record the session.”