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Project Veritas

Project Veritas
Project Veritas is a nonprofit conservative organization founded in 2010.

James O’Keefe founded Project Veritas in 2010, rising to prominence with the far-right for his secretly recorded videos. All of the its projects were aimed at luring targets into making comments that could be edited in ways to discredit them and to support right-wing conspiracy theories that aided political candidates like Donald Trump. Project is infamous for recording and manipulating undercover videos, and targeting journalists from news outlets like NPR and the Washington Post, as well as organizations like Planned Parenthood.

O’Keefe claimed he was trying to expose wrongdoing by journalists, labor unions, and liberal figures and organizations, but it was later proven the videos were edited to leave out crucial context. O’Keefe frequently blundered at his espionage, failing, for example, to lure a CNN reporter onto his yacht in 2010. In 2018, an investigative team at The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for documenting Veritas’ attempts to trick the publication into publishing false information about a US Senate race in Alabama. Despite this, the organization raised 22 million dollars in 2020. 

During that year’s election cycle, when Trump was attempting to be re-elected, O’Keefe posted a video claiming election fraud. Donald Trump Jr., circulated the video, as did the president’s “war room” Twitter account. Veritas had been producing undercover stings designed to undermine the validity of absentee and mail-in ballot counts for over a year, in an endeavor they codenamed “Diamond Dog.” They tasked their operatives with producing evidence of mail-in voter fraud. One of their allies codenamed “GDog,” created an entrapment scheme by posting ads online soliciting people to join him in ballot harvesting. This was their Hail Mary strategy, as Trump’s polls leading up to the 2020 vote showed he had little chance of being elected for a second term. Trump embraced this strategy wholeheartedly, claiming that “mail-in ballots substantially increase the risk of crime and VOTER FRAUD!” over Twitter, and that 2020 would be “the greatest Rigged Election in history.” Diamond Dog attracted donations from several wealthy political groups, charitable foundations, and conservative billionaires. Some hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions remained anonymous.

In 2021, two Floridians pleaded guilty to delivering the stolen diary of President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley to Veritas ahead of the 2020 election in exchange for $20,000 each. In 2023, Veritas edited together clips from a conversation with a Pfizer employee to claim that the company was “mutating” the COVID-19 virus. That same year, O’Keefe was forced out of the group by his board, over allegations of workplace misconduct and mismanaged funds. He had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury cars, among other things, in just two years. 

The New Republic reported that, though the nonprofit raised millions of dollars from conservative donors, they were “forced to lay off more than half of its staff and has since been operating on a skeleton crew” after O’Keefe’s departure. In September of 2023, Veritas announced that it was suspending its operations indefinitely—and in December, its new CEO Hannah Giles resigned, saying the nonprofit had become “an unsalvageable mess.”