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Mugshot of James O'Keefe
In early 2010, hearing that SEIU would be providing buses to get voters to the polls for the Massachusetts special Senate election, a group of conservatives saw an opportunity for James O'Keefe to give his video-editing operation another workout. The planned video of undercover conservative operatives committing voter fraud edited to look like SEIU was responsible never materialized in this case. But the string of brainstorming emails is a window onto Republican paranoia and plotting.

Conservative writer John Fund kicked things off with the news that SEIU would be sending buses to several Boston neighborhoods with significant black and Latino populations. As he put it, "If you're black or brown they'll rope you in and take you to the polls, registration can be worked out." (Massachusetts does not have same-day voter registration.) Fund's email got forwarded to Rick Santorum sugar daddy Foster Friess, whose son Steve got super excited about the possibilities:

Wouldn't it be great if a "ACORN sting video" could be produced about these busses?

Dad - maybe bounce this off Breitbart?

Some black /Latina conservatives could be wired for video, and get picked up on one of these busses, and show what goes on. My guess -they are offering cash, (which I am pretty sure is illegal), and I also would wager that at least some of these busses are making more than one stop with the same people - ie getting them to vote twice -though I don't know the mechanics of that.

Perhaps some private detective types would be needed to help track down the busses, and a block or two ahead of them to drop our cameramen off...

In the Republican mind, Point A, the SEIU is bringing voters from black and Latino neighborhoods to the polls, leads directly to Point B, the SEIU must be paying people and getting them to vote more than once, and from there to Point C, let's find some brown and black people of our own and videotape them committing voter fraud. It's possible that parts of this email exchange are missing, but this string of thought occurred within 24 hours of Fund's initial email. From there, O'Keefe made travel plans for Nadia Naffe, who went on to charge him with harassment, and Joe Basel, who was arrested with him in New Orleans, to go make Steve Friess' dreams of an ACORN tape come true; Naffe confirms that she made the trip to Boston and that the footage is out there somewhere.

James O'Keefe is starting to be great evidence for how generally aboveboard the progressive movement is. When he's able to make a splash with a video claiming progressive misconduct, the video invariably turns out to be conversations in which O'Keefe or his accomplices have lied extensively, with the video edited past recognition. But even with that limitless willingness to lie, O'Keefe fails more often than he succeeds. Whether it's saying that dead people and non-citizens have voted only to have the voters turn out to have been alive and citizens, having his own people commit voter fraud, or being called out by the Economic Policy Institute for trying to get them to accept money for fake research, or his imitators being called out by Planned Parenthood and community organizing groups, O'Keefe and his ilk have trouble finding anything they can even edit into the appearance of wrongdoing—unless they actually break laws themselves. It's entirely possible that O'Keefe has made dozens of failed attempts to find that one staffer for a progressive organization who says something that can be edited to look scandalous. But as long as rich Republicans think there's something scandalous about brown people voting (which is basically forever), he'll have the funding to keep failing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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