Project Veritas' WaPo Stinger Strikes Socialist Group
The Project Veritas operative who falsely alleged that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager, in an attempted sting of the Washington Post last year, is at it again. Using the alias Kimmie Gibson, Jaime Tennille Phillips has been infiltrating Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America since at least early August, according to four DSA members who interacted with her at meetings, actions, and happy hours. She often came early and stayed late for these gatherings, and was eager to make friends, and in at least one case, a lover.
Phillips first met activist Arjun Comar at a DSA convention planning session on Sept. 5. Their interaction then was brief, but at a Sept. 12 Libertarian Socialist Caucus meeting at the Red Derby, they got to know each other better. That meeting ran from 8 pm until approximately 11 pm, but a handful of people, including Phillips and Comar, stayed at the bar until 3:00. Sometime after midnight, she began holding his hand, and about an hour later, she kissed him. He went with it, and they kissed a few more times before exchanging phone numbers and heading home.
The undercover operative texted Comar throughout the following day. She asked him about his job, and drew upon her real-life job history, telling him about her work in mortgage financing. Prior to Jaime Phillips' employment with Project Veritas, she was a licensed mortgage broker at Amerisave Mortgage Corporation in Atlanta. Comar found out Phillips' true identity on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m super creeped out. This woman basically came out of nowhere and hit on me, and I had my guard down," Comar told me. "This feels terrible. I feel offended and used.”
Similar to this DSA sting, over the course of months, Jaime Phillips infiltrated the Washington Post-employee social network, and aggressively tried to befriend her targets. In one particularly unethical example of her behavior, she pressed one staffer, who was going through a family tragedy, repeatedly for a dinner meeting. When this staffer confided her situation, Phillips continued to push: "Let me know if I can do anything to help, even if just to talk or something small. We’d like to send flowers or a donation… Thoughts & prayers.”
Insinuating yourself into the life of someone who is experiencing a family tragedy in order to advance a political agenda is pretty low, but using sex to extract information from a political target is even lower. Phillips and her boss, rightwing political hitman James O'Keefe, clearly have few ethical boundaries and very little shame.
Metro DC DSA member Kim Lehmkuhl is now a veteran of three organizations that have been targeted by Project Veritas. Said Lehmkuhl:
James O'Keefe is a morally bankrupt hack who survives only on the largesse of the Koch Brothers, and perhaps even more pathetically, Donald Trump. It's tragic that with the increasingly constrained options we have for making a living under late capitalism, young people struggling to pay their bills feel they have to consider for even one second doing the dirty work for someone who became a national media joke years ago -- though unfortunately not before he destroyed the livelihoods of many workers in the struggle to make this country liveable for everyone. RIP ACORN and solidarity with Shirley Sherrod.
Other operatives involved in the DSA sting include two newcomers to the group going by "Leo Rod" and "Jennifer Williams," whose strange behavior tipped off multiple DSA members. Rod and Williams showed up to one event separately and acted as though they were strangers, but were later found to know each other. Rod went to one Aug. 9 session for DSA candidates running for local neighborhood councils, known as ANCs. DSA member and ANC candidate Caleb-Michael Files thought that Rod's attendance was odd given that he a.) had just moved to DC from New York, b.) was not running, and c.) was taking "copious amounts of notes." Williams went to a July 26 Maryland elections debriefing, where she pointedly asked about members' employment, specifically in the Government Accountability Office and Department of Defense.
So what exactly are O'Keefe and company trying to do here? It's clearly not journalism, but warfare: the war with the Left waged by his mentor, the late Andrew Breitbart, whose mantle O'Keefe has picked up since his death. Lately, many of O'Keefe's battles (against my firm, Democracy Partners; Washington Post; CNN; and Twitter) have been fought to defend his latest patron, Donald Trump, who is now under siege both in the mid-terms and the Mueller investigation.
Cue the socialists, the perennial boogeymen of the Right. They are experiencing a surge in popularity in the Democratic Party, as evidenced by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, amongst others, and that popularity makes them ripe political targets ahead of the midterms. Just gin up a controversy about anti-capitalist leftists that you can then use to smear the entire Democratic Party, especially in red states with vulnerable moderates. O'Keefe has been teasing a "Deep State Unmasked" video that will drop next week, with a focus on socialists who work in various agencies of the federal government. In a speech to Phyllis Schafly's Gateway Eagle Council this weekend, O'Keefe continued his relentless flacking for Donald Trump, railing on the anonymous author(s) of the recent New York Times op-ed that described a "resistance" within the Trump administration. O'Keefe claimed that for the past six months his operatives have been burrowing into all levels of the federal government to ferret out leakers, to unmask "this unelected cabal of federal government workers...[who] are basically stomping on the Constitution." What better Twitter ammunition for Trump than conspiracy theories about Deep State socialists undermining his presidency?