WATCH: James O’Keefe III Crashes Netroots Nation With His Handicam

Conservative activist James O'Keefe III, shown here in a mugshot after his arrest on federal felony charges for allegedly trying to tamper with the phone lines in Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-La.) office. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

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Wandering the halls of Netroots Nation 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island, this week, I began to wonder why more conservative moles hadn’t tried to crash this shindig. The annual progressive political convention for bloggers and organizers doesn’t turn away paying guests, so it seems ripe for infiltration. Saturday afternoon, on the last day, it finally happened: James O’Keefe III, “ratfucker” extraordinaire, showed up to tape the festivities. And we taped him—see the video below.

O’Keefe, standing about six-foot-two and looking taller in a skin-tight black tee, held a handicam at the ready, but he and his consort—conservative blogger Jim Hoft, a.k.a. Gateway Pundit—seemed a little intimidated when I whipped out my own videocam.

O’Keefe, who says he attended last year’s Netroots in Minneapolis, was in town to give a speech on investigative journalism and help give out some Breitbart Awards. So we’ve got that in common! I asked him how he felt about Mother Jones.

“You guys have been pretty critical of me,” he smiled.

Unfairly so?

“Sometimes.”

When I asked him what his “investigative” outfit, Project Veritas, was working on in Providence, he demurred. “It’s classified.”

After I stopped rolling, two progressive gay bloggers sauntered over to chat O’Keefe up, but the right-leaning muckraker shuffled off surreptitiously.

“He’s been working out,” one blogger commented. Someone asked the other blogger if he’d ever consider bedding O’Keefe.

“Not in a million years,” he said, making a prune face.

O’Keefe, of course, is on a court-ordered probation that runs to 2013, owing to an “investigative journalism” project involving alleged plans for phone tampering* in the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.); there’s no word yet on whether this trip was approved by a probation officer. O’Keefe left before I could ask him.

*UPDATE: Daniel Francisco, executive director of Project Veritas, asked us to clarify that “James O’Keefe has never tampered with a Senator’s phones.” O’Keefe pled guilty to unlawfully entering federal property, admitting that he and his three accused partners “misrepresented themselves and their purpose for gaining access to the central phone system to orchestrate a conversation about phone calls to the Senator’s staff and capture the conversation on video.” Which sounds a lot better than phone tampering, the felony charge for which O’Keefe was initially arrested.

Francisco did not, however, dispute our characterization of O’Keefe’s shirt as “skin-tight.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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