Conservative activist James O'Keefe spoke to a packed house of Seacoast Republicans Sunday not in person, but rather on streaming video because stepping foot in New Hampshire would trigger a criminal grand jury subpoena.
O'Keefe has drawn from his during the New Hampshire primary. O'Keefe, 27, often cited frustration Sunday during a Rye Republican Town Committee-hosted gala about being stopped from doing his job and trying to uncover "truths" about a flawed system he said is necessitating a voter identification bill.
"I think it's unfortunate that we live in a country these days where public officials threaten journalists, threaten to put journalists in jail for exposing facts legally," O'Keefe said via Skype and a projector screen inside the Abenaqui Country Club in Rye.
[Click on the attached video for some clips from O'Keefe's Skyped speech.]
O'Keefe's efforts received loud cheers and whistles from Sunday's standing-room-only crowd of roughly 200. Event emcee Jeff Chidester praised O'Keefe's work, stating Republicans should be "disappointed" O'Keefe couldn't appear in person and that they "should leave [the event] very outraged" because Gov. John Lynch and other Democrats are threatening O'Keefe with legal action.
"If Democratic votes had been suppressed by Republicans... then we would have the outrage we should have on this issue as well," said Chidester.
O'Keefe said he and his nonprofit organization, Project Veritas, are "not going to stop" despite the various threats his actions have generated. He said his group plans to file Monday morning a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain e-mails and communications between Lynch, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder due to the subpoena threat.
He said Project Veritas would also soon release new recordings showing additional voting fraud throughout the country, and that the "courage" of his colleagues will "outweigh anything these guys can pose against" him.
Jack Kimball, the former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, called O'Keefe a "warrior" for his efforts. Kimball said the media has made the secret recordings of voter registration in Nashua more "polarizing than it should be," and that a voter ID bill should be supported because it's no different than residents having to prove their identities before boarding a plane or buying a drink.
"I don't care what side of the fence you're on... we all want to make sure voting is on the up and up," said Kimball. "This stuff goes on. We want to make sure our votes are not negated by fraudulent voting. I think we've got to be Americans first and a party second. This isn't a party issue. It should be about what is good for America, not what's good for a party or for power."
O'Keefe and Project Veritas orchestrated an undercover investigation when they filmed several New Hampshire polling sites on Jan. 10. Phony voters asked for ballots for recently deceased people in , with the exchanges with local election officials being secretly filmed.
Patch was almost kept from recording any of O'Keefe's remarks Sunday. Partway through O'Keefe's speech, Rye Republican Town Chairwoman Diane Bitter told Hampton-North Hampton Patch that O'Keefe's speech could not be recorded.
She said conservative website Granite Grok would have video posted after the event. Patch stopped filming partway through the speech to ask Bitter for clarification, as O'Keefe's speech was given before multiple media outlets and in front of a packed event to which Patch was invited.
Bitter replied that she normally doesn’t allow cameras to roll at a “private event” because her committee "want[s guests] to be able to say what they want" during private conversations without being recorded.
The Project Veritas controversy in New Hampshire has helped promote legislation in the state to require people to show a photographic identification in order to vote. That bill is pending.