Shortly after releasing undercover video footage of Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s staffers admitting that he has has a far-left agenda in mind but makes up “fairy tales” to win over moderates and has no plans to fulfill many of his campaign promises once elected, Project Veritas dropped a bombshell on Beto O’Rourke’s campaign, too.
Democrat O’Rourke is trying to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the midterm elections. Veritas embedded an undercover reporter in O’Rourke’s campaign and caught staffers and even his campaign manager on camera appearing to admit to using large amounts of campaign donations to buy supplies for caravan migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. Extensive footage also showed staffers discussing multiple ways to keep it a secret from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“There a lot of serious legal issues in this video, Section 1001 violates, FEC violations, a lot of serious questions that need to be answered” for the voters of Texas, Veritas’ James O’Keefe said.
The video opens with campaign field manager Dominic Chacon talking about a group of Honduran caravan migrants that had already crossed the border into Texas. He and field organizer Anapaula Themann discussed how to buy food for the migrants with campaign funds but make it look like the money was being used for office events.
“Don’t ever repeat this,” Themann warned as the undercover journalist secretly filmed the conversation.
Themann advised Chacon on how to shop at grocery stores that list food as simply “food” on receipts rather than itemizing it so that they could conceal the types of food items they wanted to buy for the migrants with campaign donations. Themann said she’d also take off her Beto support button to help mask her identity when shopping for the food.
“I just hope nobody that’s the wrong person finds out about this,” she’s heard saying.
“Did you guys get a lot of stuff?” Chacon asked later.
“We had two full carts,” the Veritas reporter replied. “I mean, they were full.”
“That’s awesome,” Chacon replied, later remarking that, “Nobody needs to know.”
Chacon also talked on hidden camera about using campaign vans to transport migrants. He said he hoped the vans didn’t get in an accident and expose what they were doing. He also talked about buying non-food items for the migrants.
Asked about whether Beto’s campaign manager Jody Casey was OK with any of this, field manager Andrea Reyes was convinced she would be and said “we already got approval from our director.”
Chacon also discussed with the undercover reporter how he hides the secret campaign expenditures by making them small and routine.
And he expressed full knowledge that getting caught would get them in a lot of trouble with multiple fines of up to $50,000 from the FEC. Anapalua later suggested she’d use even more of the campaign funds to help a second group of migrants coming into the area.
When the undercover journalist told Casey that she was concerned about the use of campaign funds for things completely unrelated to the campaign, the campaign manager waved her hand and told her, “Don’t worry.”
Take a look at the video below (Parent warning: Strong language bleeped, some mild language not bleeped):
When O’Keefe himself questioned Casey later about her “don’t worry” remark, she refused to comment.
But the Beto campaign was compelled to address the videos afterward, according to the Texas Tribune. The campaign admitted that some of their staffers “took it upon themselves” to make use of campaign funds to donate supplies to a nonprofit group helping the migrants.
"Staff members took it upon themselves to use prepaid cards from one of our more than 700 field offices to buy baby wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars, and donate them to a local humanitarian nonprofit (Annunciation House) that helps mothers and children in the community," spokesman Chris Evans said.
"The value was under $300 and it will be appropriately reported to the FEC," he added, passing it off as no big deal, even though the staffers in the video appeared to be talking about far more than $300 worth of food and supplies, not to mention the use of the campaign vans.
O’Rourke’s opponent Cruz caught wind of all this going on and remarked on Twitter Friday, “Two basic Qs every reporter should ask Beto today: (1) should the ‘caravan’ be allowed to cross illegally into Texas? (Beto refuses to answer.) And (2) did your campaign dollars illegally fund their doing so?”