James O’Keefe — who bragged that he had evidence of public employees giving assistance to individuals who presented themselves as drug dealers and terrorists — has released a new video that goes after county workers in an Ohio strip mall.
O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released the first of what it said is a series of videos exposing Medicaid fraud.
O’Keefe told the Daily Caller that he would release the unedited videos to anyone who wanted them. When TPM asked his spokesman for copies of the full videos, he only pointed to only one full clip posted at the end of the edited video. He didn’t respond to a request for the rest of the unedited footage.
A mash-up shows the two individuals featured in the video — John Buckley playing “Sergei” and Spencer Meads as “Afghani” — wearing a Russian fur hat and an open shirt with a medallion. However, it isn’t clear what they were wearing when they actually visited the government service centers.
The Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, which is featured in O’Keefe’s video, left a TPM reporter on hold for over two hours. A reporter with Politico had better luck, getting a spokesman with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to call the video “obviously very troubling.” The spokesman continued, “We are looking into the matter, we are working with the counties to try and find out what exactly happened.” The spokesman said that if what was in the video was accurate, “we would hope the counties would at the very least discipline these workers.”
It isn’t clear if the two men ever filled out any actual paperwork to apply for Medicaid, which would have required them to enter false information on official forms.
The Daily Caller’s report also makes much of one employee in Madison County telling the men her office wouldn’t report illegal aliens to federal authorities. So did O’Keefe. In an email to supporters, O’Keefe wrote: “At another office in Madison County, Medicaid worker Robin Johnson assured our investigators that their immigration status would not prohibit them from collecting benefits.”
That appears to be directly the opposite of what the worker said. The full clip isn’t available, but when the video picks up, Johnson references something as “the main thing we’re looking for when we’re determining eligibility” and adds “but even if we run into people that are illegal aliens, it’s not like we report them to INS or anything.”
As a spokesman told Politico, an undocumented immigrant would not have been able to receive Medicaid because “there’s a verification process that involves Social Security numbers, applicants have to prove citizenship, so some of the issues this video raises would have eventually come to light in the application process.”
O’Keefe’s video also reveals some information about the donors to Project Veritas, many of whom are featured in the video.
Louisa Jaffe is a top donor to a group that targets government workers, but has been on the federal payroll herself. Her DC-area firm has done budget consulting for the SEC, the FBI, the U.S. Army, the Navy and the Department of Homeland Security, driving $16,610,029 in revenue in 2008, according to a website for the group.
Additional reporting by Zoe Schlanger.