Court Rejects James O'Keefe's Attacks on Battleground Texas, Video Described as “Disinformation”

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Despite what James O'Keefe wants to believe, these Battleground Texas organizers aren't committing any crimes by registering voters.

A District Court in San Antonio has dismissed a legal complaint based on a video by right-wing provocateur James O'Keefe and his organization Project Veritas. The complaint made all sorts of untrue and baseless allegations against Battleground Texas and their efforts to register voters.

O'Keefe used footage secretly obtained by an interloper sent to spy on a Battleground Texas meeting to claim that the organization was “breaking the law” due to how it handles voter registration information.

However, O'Keefe clearly did not understand the laws pertaining to registration or deputy registrars. The complaints based on his video were rejected by two special prosecutors appointed to look into the claims.

The special prosecutor's report ultimately found the content of O'Keefe's video to be “little more than a canard,” and “particularly unprofessional.”

Maybe Project Veritas needs to work a bit more on the “veritas” part of their brand.

Update 5:27 p.m.: View the order to dismiss HERE.

Read more below the jump about the many reasons why this court case is good news for Texas Democrats.Texas is a non-voting state. We rank towards the bottom in registration and turnout. One of the main organizing activities of Battleground Texas is to deputize thousands of volunteers, who can then organize in their communities to register the voters that Wendy Davis and other Democrats need to win in November.

So far, Battleground Texas has done an outstanding job of organizing volunteers to get deputized in their counties to be able to register voters. This grassroots army is poised to make a tremendous difference in terms of expanding the electorate to make sure that those non-voting Texans who are likely to support Wendy Davis can actually make it to the polls this November.

The expanded organizing presence of Battleground, as well as a reinvigorated Texas Democratic Party and the work of groups such as Texas Organizing Project clearly raised eyebrows amongst the Republican establishment, who use the work of Battleground Texas as a frequent fundraising appeal to GOP donors.

That brings us to the infamous attention-monger James O'Keefe, who frequently tangles with the law in his disingenuous efforts to embarrass Democrats and progressive causes and organizers with out-of-context clips from surreptitiously obtained videos. O'Keefe, who is apparently unaware of the legal doctrine of “I am rubber, you are glue,” manages to mostly land himself in hot water in his efforts to make others look bad.

O'Keefe produced a shoddy video alleging improprieties in the voter registration process used by Battleground, in which he makes up laws and claims that the Wendy Davis campaign is using “health data” before making a fundraising pitch for Project Veritas.

The allegations in the video were considered in a Bexar County District Court. Due to the sensitivity of the issue in an election year, two special prosecutors were appointed by Judge Raymond Angelini to investigate the complaint. One great irony in the case is that one of the special prosecutors, John Economidy, is Republican: he was a conservative editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan back in his college years.

The special prosecutors' findings? Basically, the claims in Project Veritas' video are a bunch of hogwash, and the video is crappy, to boot.

From the special report issued by the prosecutors, emphasis mine:


a.  The Veritas video was little more than a canard and political disinformation.  The video was particularly unprofessional when it suggested that the actions of Battleground Texas were advocated by a Texas gubernatorial candidate and that the actions of a single volunteer deputy registrar may even involve private health data, which is not involved in the voter registration process.

Additionally, the special prosecutors write, “We recommend that the complaint be dismissed for insufficient evidence and failure to state an offense.”

So, to recap, James O'Keefe sent people to sneak into Battleground Texas organizational meetings and secretly film them. He used these clips to edit together a poorly made video alleging improprieties in the process and making up laws along the way. (Big government alert!) A district court reviewed these complaints and found them baseless and lacking in evidence. The court dismissed the case.

And why is this good news for Texas Democrats? Because if it's worth it to right-wing hacks to try and discredit Battleground Texas, the group must be doing something right, and something that threatens Republican dominance in the Lone Star State.

That's good news for Wendy Davis — and even better news for the people of Texas, who deserve accountable leadership in our state government.

Update 10:52 a.m.: The original version of this post was revised to clarify the status of the court case. The court granted the motion to dismiss the case against Battleground, but that order is not yet available. This post quotes the special prosecutor's report recommending dismissal.

Update 5:27 p.m.: View the order to dismiss HERE.


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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