Project Veritas Operative Apparently Targeting CA Senate Candidate Kevin de León
Updated: Mar 3, 2018
I caught long-time Project Veritas operative Christian Hartsock at the California Democratic Convention not once, but twice the Friday night of the convention. The first time, I was talking to California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Dianne Feinstein, when I spotted Hartsock hovering nearby. I confronted him, and as he ran off, I repeatedly requested that he produce a credential. He did not.
After dinner, I headed to the California Teachers Association reception at the Hilton. I stepped off the escalator onto a floor just outside the party and spotted Hartsock again. I again confronted him, and he ran into the lobby.
Because I alerted conference organizers and activists to Hartsock's presence, I received a number of tips on sightings of him. One source claimed to have spotted Hartsock at de León's taco lunch on Saturday.
Back in August of 2017, Jane Mayer reported that Hartsock, playing progressive donor consultant "Trent Maynard," was involved in a sting against the California League of Conservation Voters in the Bay Area. Hartsock introduced fellow Project Veritas operative, Dan Sandini, playing investor "Dan Logan," to the environmental group over the course of several months. Sandini wined and dined LCV staffers, and spent $2000 to attend a Green Latinos event hosted by an allied organization.
According to Mayer, "At one L.C.V. event, [Sandini] seemed inexplicably disappointed when he wasn’t able to present a pair of cufflinks to the California Senate’s president pro tempore, Kevin de León, after de León failed to show."
Sandini and now Hartsock have both apparently made attempts to approach de León, who could be a juicy target for Project Veritas for a number of reasons -- de León has positioned himself as a leader of the California resistance to Trump and is a leading voice of the environmental and immigration movements. Project Veritas has received money from the Trump Foundation; and has notably targeted critics of Trump, environmentalists, and immigration vis á vis voter registration efforts.
In 2016, Project Veritas ramped up the tactic of embedding its undercover operatives within political campaigns, doing so with the Senate campaigns of Russ Feingold, Deborah Ross, and Ted Strickland, and the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in multiple states. Expect to see escalated activity from Veritas in 2018 in key Senate and House races. Although the California Senate race is not seen as a key race for Republicans by any means, it is however, a high profile race for the burgeoning progressive movement in the Trump era.
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DISCLOSURE: Christian Hartsock and Dan Sandini were both involved in the Project Veritas sting against my firm, Democracy Partners, in 2016. Hartsock posed as a progressive donor consultant named Steve Packard, and Sandini posed as a progressive donor named Charles Roth.