So here's an interesting twist: James O'Keefe, one of the conservative activists responsible for the infamous "pimp" videos" that prompted Congress to defund the activist group ACORN, has been arrested in connection with a conspiracy to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's offices in Louisiana.
An independent report requested by ACORN and conducted by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger found no pattern "of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff," and a report from the Congressional Research Service found no evidence that ACORN had ever violated the terms of its federal funding. The reports came out too late, however, as Congress had already decided on the basis of the doctored "pimp" videos, to exempt the group from federal funding. A federal judge recently ruled the move amounted to unconstitutional "bill of attainder."
According to the report from NOLA.com, O'Keefe was aiding two other men, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who were disguised as phone company workers, allegedly as a pretext for tampering with the office's phone system.
How's this for a kicker:
O'Keefe on Thursday gave a speech to Libertarian Pelican Institute in New Orleans.
Well, despite the fact that O'Keefe hasn't been convicted of anything yet, I'm sure the conservative establishment will distance themselves from him as quickly as the Democrats defunded ACORN.
Wait, what am I saying -- getting arrested for a politically motivated break-in is practically a badge of honor in the conservative movement. Just ask Chuck Colson or G. Gordon Liddy. Extremism in the pursuit of whatever is no vice.
UPDATE: According to the FBI affadavit, acquired by POLITICO, the four men involved in the scheme have admitted to entering the office under false pretenses and that they had conspired together to secure entry. A third alleged co-conspirator, Stan Dai, has been identified. Here's what the affadavit says:
Subsequently, Flanagan and Basel have admitted to federal agents that they were not telephone repairment and that they entered the office of Senator Landrieu under false pretences. O'Keefe and Dai have also admitted to federal agents that [they?] worked with Flanagan and Basel in the planning, coordination and preparation of the operation. O'Keefe further admitted to recording to Flanagan and Basel inside of Senator Landrieu's office.
From a layman's perspective, I'd say that looks pretty bad. But the conservative movement does take care of their own.
UPDATE II: Here's an initial reaction from Michelle Malkin, who feels obligated to persuade her readers this isn't all a liberal conspiracy:
Let it be a lesson to aspiring young conservatives interested in investigative journalism: Know your limits. Know the law. Don’t get carried away. And don’t become what you are targeting.
Yeah I don't remember ACORN trying to illegally wiretap politicians' offices.
At any rate, Malkin adds that "This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up." Good for her, but isn't it a bad sign that she thinks the default position of her leadership is that the federal government is actively conspiring against them?
UPDATE III: Malkin hastily updates: "They are, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty." Rights. Like ACORN. And the untried detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Can't blame her for forgetting that in the first draft, after months of saying certain people don't deserve trials that whole "support for due process" muscle gets weak.
-- A. Serwer