O’Keefe and Breitbart prep sting targeting Detroit Free Press
Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm
Writing at Wired, Noah Schactman reports an upcoming O’Keefe-Breitbart sting operation. This one targets an Obama tax credit program run through state offices of Housing and Urban Development. O’Keefe reportedly visited offices in Detroit and suggested ways to defraud the government based on the program. He also visited the offices of the Detroit Free Press, where journalists did what any journalists would do and declined to have anything to do with any of O’Keefe’s brand of investigation. Schachtman witnessed Breitbart and O’Keefe considering the footage and his description of the back and forth feels right on.
This time, there are no prostitutes involved, just a shady, and serious, tax-fraud scheme. The ploy involves the Obama administration’s 10 percent tax credit to first-time home buyers. The law says that the credit maxes out at $8,000 for an $80,000 home. But at the Detroit office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the rule seems open to interpretation. O’Keefe asks a staffer, What if I bought a place for $50,000, but the seller and I agreed to write down $80,000 as the purchase price?
“Flip it any way you want,” the staffer replies.
What if the place is worth much less — like only $6,000?
“Yup, you can do that.”
O’Keefe and fellow activist Joe Basel ran the same sting at HUD’s Chicago office and at several federally supported independent housing groups. Breitbart paces the parquet floor. The video is damning but not exactly Acorn-explosive.
Then O’Keefe stops the playback. “Oh yeah, I forgot,” he says. “We went to the Detroit Free Press, to the managing editor. We told her the whole thing. She said she wasn’t interested. Wanna see the tape?”
Breitbart starts to cackle. Of course he wants to see the tape. Sleazy HUD administrators are important, sure. But media covering up sleaze? That’s entertainment. “Dude, that’s the most important part!” he says. “I have seepage coming out of five parts of my body right now.”
In related news, U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon found that Congress acted unconstitutionally last fall in defunding ACORN based on the O’Keefe tapes. Members of Congress, she ruled, took punitive action against the organization when no legal finding of fault had ever occurred. The Constitution is clear that members of the legislature can’t find guilt or innocence because they are politicians and will let their interests influence their decisions in a way the courts are set up to prevent. And in fact judges looking at the unedited tapes submitted by O’Keefe and Breitbart as trial evidence have found ACORN guilty of no illegal acts.