Yesterday, the Oregon Tea Party released video of chat it recently had with James O'Keefe, the activist whose videos—cobbled through the use of hidden cameras and some painstakingly thought-out editing—wound up embarrassing and/or annoying NPR, ACORN, and others.
O'Keefe's latest target? He says it's the Oregon Bus Project, the group that Jefferson Smith founded before he made his way to Salem and then into the upper echelon's of this year's mayoral race. He says he took a trip with the Bus a long time ago (although after Smith was working in Salem) and mentioned "potential" drug use and drinking, maybe among minors, and also claimed Governor John Kitzhaber was involved. We're still waiting for video of the "potential" bad stuff, and not just O'Keefe hinting about "potential" bad stuff.
The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes talked to the Bus crew and posted their response last night. He also looked at the chance that conservatives here would use it to sink Smith's mayoral hopes.
The charges angered and mystified officials with the Bus Project, who said they are scrupulous about not serving alcohol to minors. And they questioned why O'Keefe is making the charges so long after taking a two-day trip with the Bus Project back in July of 2010.
"I have no reason to believe his two-years-after-the-fact allegations," said Caitlin Baggott, the Bus Project's executive director.
Henry Kraemer, the group's organizing and political director, said that Kitzhaber spoke to participants in Portland before they left on a bus trip to Eugene and Coos Bay. But Kitzhaber, who was then seeking a return to the governor's office, did not take part in the trip, Kraemer said.
There's also this:
"Turns out I spent two days making sure James O'Keefe was happy, well-fed and had a good place to sleep, which I think is funny," Kraemer said in an email. "Anyway, I can't imagine what he thinks he recorded (his famous skill for editing video to make innocent things look nefarious notwithstanding)."