Last week, both [EPI President Lawrence] Mishel and Amy Hanauer, the founding executive director of the group Policy Matters Ohio, received cryptic phone calls from a person identifying himself as Luke Fowler. Fowler explained that he worked as a researcher for a hedge fund manager named Peter Harman who was interested in funding a study showing that cuts to education and collective bargaining rights would hurt students. Harman, Fowler added, was associated with the Ohio Education Association, a union that represents some 130,000 teachers and faculty members.
The implication was clear. If Mishel could produce the data, he would get the money. "He wanted me to do something to show that spending cuts were going to hurt children in schools," Mishel said. "I told him, you know, you can't buy results."
Hanauer's call came later and was nearly identical.
Emails to "Luke Fowler" bounced back and the domain name—ohioedassoc.org—is registered to the acting executive director of Project Veritas, O'Keefe's 501(c)3 organization. Because Veritas is totally synonymous with registering a domain name intended to make it look like you're with an organization you're attacking, then lying your ass off on a couple of phone calls trying to set up two more organizations. The funny thing is:
"He was trying to get me to say, yeah, give me the money and I will come up with a report that says cutting back on school funding is going to hurt school kids," said Mishel. "Which actually is the truth—I could have given him evidence that shows that."
EPI President Lawrence Mishel says he's "honored to be the subject of their attention." Having James O'Keefe think you're a progressive organization worth bringing down may be an honor. Calling him on it before he has the chance? That's pretty awesome.