In 2004, James O'Keefe III launched a satirical protest to have Lucky Charms ousted from the cafeterias, claiming the sugary cereal was offensive to Irish Americans. He even recorded a hidden-camera video with a Rutgers dining services official in his effort to illustrate what he perceived to be the lunacy of political correctness, reports NJ.com.
Having conquered the dining hall, O'Keefe moved on to bigger and better things. While a law student in California, the New Jersey native employed the same undercover sleuthing tactics to out dishonest counselors at Planned Parenthood, according to NJ.com.
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Exposing ACORN -- in Brooklyn and in offices nationwide -- has been his biggest take-over to date, however; his undercover videos resulted in a criminal probe of employees, a repudiation of the organization by the White House and legislative action to take away millions of dollars in federal funding.
"The tone of my videos is unique," O'Keefe told the Star Ledger "I'm not just reporting on something, I'm becoming something I'm reporting on."
The former Eagle Scout put grad school aside to go after ACORN. He and his 20-year-old friend, Hannah Giles, a journalism student at Florida International University, traveled to ACORN branches across the country over the course of the summer. The group – Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – provides federal housing assistance to the poor and runs voter-registration guides.
Posing as a pimp and a prostitute, O'Keefe and Giles approached ACORN and asked about a loan for a brothel, throwing in their intentions to hire out underage girls from El Salvador. They said the funds would go to support a congressional campaign. An ACORN employee in Brooklyn was caught on tape explaining how the posers could manipulate their way into getting a loan to house their illegal operation. Four ACORN employees were fired as a result of earlier stings at offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
And O'Keefe told NJ.com there are more videos on the way.
"I'm still in my bunker producing more videos," he said. "We're releasing another video in San Diego right now. I'm focusing on doing what I do best."
ACORN moved to save its reputation yesterday and guard against future "indefensible actions" by suspending key operations pending a probe.
Watch the video of the sting in New York: