On Monday, conservative activist James O’Keefe and three others were arrested by the FBI and “charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.” The gang was caught in what appeared to be an attempt to wiretap Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office in New Orleans. O’Keefe, who had been trained by several well-funded conservative institutes and had been working for right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, gained notoriety for dressing up as a pimp and videotaping ACORN staffers offering to help the supposed pimp and his prostitutes secure funding for a brothel.
Last October, 31 House Republicans introduced a congressional resolution honoring O’Keefe for his efforts against ACORN. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the resolution’s cosponsors, has fought to ban funding to an ACORN affiliate and has been one of O’Keefe’s most vocal fans. At a press conference, ThinkProgress asked King if he would withdraw his support for the resolution, given news of O’Keefe’s arrest. But King dodged the question repeatedly, at one point defending O’Keefe, then later suggesting his resolution praising the conservative activist is frivolous compared to what Congress should be debating right now. At one point, the Iowa congressman floated the possibility of a conspiracy against O’Keefe, noting, “It seems really convenient that this would happen now”:
TP: Several of you, and I think some of your colleagues signed onto a resolution honoring James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who was in the news recently because he was caught trying to wiretap Sen. Landreu’s office.
KING: you are innocent until proven guilty and it’s off topic so I won’t — […] You know, I think that — I wanted to dig into that and find out some more details that I could pick up. Some of the behind the scenes information, because it seems really convenient that this would happen now. […]
TP: Congressman King, I’m just trying to figure this out. You pushed an effort to defund ACORN, but at the same time you are saying James O’Keefe is innocent until proven guilty. You’ve already passed judgement on ACORN without a trial.
KING: We pass judgment all the time […] He has been picked up and the allegations are that he committed an act. Now he is innocent until proven guilty. ACORN needs to be investigated.
TP: And if Pelosi forced a vote on the O’Keefe resolution would you vote on it.
KING: I’d want to see the language. Why would we focus on this?
Watch the video produced by Victor Zapanta:
It’s odd that King isn’t aware of the O’Keefe resolution’s language seeing that he cosponsored it. Also, while downplaying O’Keefe’s purported attempt to wiretap Landrieu, King brushed off the alleged crime as simply an “act.” If O’Keefe was attempting to wiretap the Senator — a suspicion reported in the press given the fact his cohorts were caught tampering with phones while posing as telephone company employees — he would be accessing private conversations that might deal with Landrieu’s sensitive work on the Homeland Security Committee, which deals with matters of terrorism and national security.