Conservative activist James O’Keefe, who became notorious last year after dressing up as a 70’s-style pimp and releasing videos he claimed showed the community organizing group ACORN was aiding and abetting prostitution, has set his sights on the U.S. Census Bureau.
O’Keefe posted a hidden camera video today on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog purporting to show a Census Bureau supervisor instructing temporary workers to fudge their time sheets. O’Keefe, who worked for two days receiving training to be a temporary Census taker, then apparently told a few superiors that he was being paid for four hours of work he didn’t do, but his concerns were met with a resounding, “Meh.”
But just like how a rock band’s second album is usually a pale imitation of its smash debut, the Census video lacks the spark of the original ACORN video. Instead of shots of a sexy girl in a miniskirt and images of O’Keefe in a Superfly pimp costume, we get drab Census workers in a Dunkin’ Donuts and gray government buildings. And instead of apparently scandalous talk of prostitution and money laundering, we get lessons on stretching a half-hour lunch break to a full hour.
In a statement sent to FedLine, the Census Bureau called the video “selectively edited,” but said it would investigate the possible timesheet falsification and take appropriate action. But Census couldn’t resist calling O’Keefe an “admitted criminal” — he pleaded guilty May 26 to misdemeanor charges of unlawfully entering the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. The agency said O’Keefe quit after his background check showing the pending charges came back, but before they could fire him.
Census also noted O’Keefe worked for them for two months last year, apparently without incident, and said nobody else in the video was aware or informed they were being taped. However, the tapes were allegedly made in New Jersey, which allows hidden camera taping.
Viewers should be aware that the ACORN videos that made O’Keefe a superstar in the conservative world were heavily edited to make ACORN look as bad as possible. California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office released a report April 1 that said one ACORN worker played along with O’Keefe and his partner to draw out as much information as possible on their alleged underage prostitution scheme, and then called the cops. Another, who claimed she was a former hooker and had murdered her ex-husband, had clearly caught on and was goofing with them. (For a demonstration on how egregiously the ACORN tapes were edited, follow this link and that link.)
Also, O’Keefe didn’t actually show up at ACORN offices in an outfit that would make Huggy Bear blush; those shots were edited in after the fact. He wore a shirt and tie and told at least one ACORN worker he was the “prostitute’s” boyfriend, not pimp. All of which is to say, take what you see below with several grains of salt. But it’s sure to be catnip for the growing wave of people with strong anti-government and anti-Census sentiment.