Project Veritas Founder James O'Keefe Ousted Over Alleged Spending on DJ Equipment
Project Veritas, the far-right activist group aimed at holding journalists and progressives accountable through deleterious means, has cut off its nose to spite its face. James O’Keefe, who founded Project Veritas in 2010 and served as CEO, has been removed from the group following concerns over how O’Keefe was spending Project Veritas money.
As detailed in The New York Times, James O’Keefe officially stepped down as CEO of Project Veritas on Monday after heading the group since 2010. The decision came from board members who claim that “James has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries,” according to a statement, and that an internal review of his leadership is ongoing.
These Winning Close-Up Photos Show Life That's Often Overlooked
Remembering Enterprise: The Test Shuttle That Never Flew to Space
“I have been stripped of my authority as CEO and removed from the board of directors,” O’Keefe said in his remarks on Monday, which spanned nearly 45 minutes in a video uploaded to Vimeo by Project Veritas. He added: “Currently, I have no job at Project Veritas. I have no position here based upon what the board has done—so I’m announcing to you all that today, on Presidents’ Day, I’m packing up my personal belongings here.”
The board goes on to claim in its statement that O’Keefe has spent Project Vertias funds on personal things including $14,000 on a flight to fix his boat while he claimed to be meeting with a donor, $60,000 in losses on planned dance events, $150,000 on Black Cars, “thousands of dollars” on DJ equipment for his own use and “hundreds of other acts of personal inurement.”
O’Keefe was reportedly placed on paid leave from Project Veritas earlier this month following his decision to fire the CFO of the group, Tom O’Hara, which the board says in its statement is against Project Veritas bylaws. The Washington Post obtained an internal memo sent to Project Veritas employees from the board following O’Keefe’s departure, which read that the board was seemingly nervous over how O’Keefe’s spending might threaten Project Veritas’ designation with the IRS.
Project Veritas is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning it cannot be “organized for the benefit or private interest”—says the IRS—or engage in political dealings and, in exchange, Project Veritas does not have to pay federal income taxes or disclose its donors. The board’s memo states that if Project Veritas donors lost the tax deduction incentive, the group could fold—Project Veritas brought in nearly $22 million in donations in 2020.
“Even with all of this public fallout, the Board still wants to speak with James. We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign. We would like to continue conversations with James to resolve internal matters rather than litigate them publicly,” the board wrote in its statement.
Project Veritas is known for its high-profile and more-than-questionable investigations into progressive groups, journalists, and companies. Recently, Project Veritas claimed to have obtained evidence of a Pfizer executive revealing that the company intentionally mutates the covid-19 virus. Project veritas has also (failed) to initiate stings on potential Trump enemies and The Washington Post.
More from Gizmodo
Sign up for Gizmodo's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.