On Thursday night, Project Veritas Action Fund released a blockbuster video that raises serious questions about the misuse of Beto O'Rourke campaign funds. In the latest installment in the Veritas election 2018 sting series, members of the Texas Democrat's U.S. Senate campaign appear to be "covering up the true nature of spending of campaign funds and intentionally misreporting them. This violates the FEC’s rules against personal use and misreporting," according to an attorney for Project Veritas Action Fund who reviewed the undercover footage.
The attorney added that the penalties for this crime include fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years of prison.
Staffers for O'Rourke's campaign were caught on tape indicating that they used campaign funds to purchase food for migrant asylum seekers and conspired to falsely report those expenses to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
The video shows a man identified as O'Rourke campaign field manager Dominic Chacon organizing campaign staff to deliver supplies to members of the Honduran caravan, who he says have already arrived in the United States and claimed asylum.
"There's, a, you know, that migrant caravan? A few of them got here already, and they're dropping them off like really close to Missouri," Chacon says. Prompted by the undercover Project Veritas journalist, Chacon clarifies that he's speaking about the migrants from Honduras.
"She's going to text me the address. Um, I'm going to go get some food right now. Like, just some stuff to drop off, 'cause they need food and blankets. ... We got permission to give them some of these waters, so we're going to take some of these waters too."
"Don't ever repeat this," O'Rourke campaign field organizer AnaPaula Themann tells Chacon on tape. She goes on to explain how she could use campaign funds to pay for the supplies.
Themann: “Don’t ever repeat this and stuff, but, like, if we just say we’re buying food for some event, like the Halloween events …”
Chacon: “That’s not a horrible idea, but I didn’t hear anything. Umm, we can wait until tomorrow for that.”
Themann: “Well that’s exactly the food we need. And I will just mark it as ... I do have dozens of block walkers.”
Chacon discusses using campaign prepaid credit cards to pay for food for the migrants.
“I think we can use that with those cards to buy some food [inaudible] — all that s**t can be totally masked like, oh, we just wanted a healthy breakfast," he explains.
Later in the video, Themann raises a concern about campaign staff wearing "Beto stuff" and being identified as members of O'Rourke's campaign while they distribute the supplies to the migrants. She says, "I don't want it to make it seem like all of us are from [the O'Rourke campaign] ... I just hope nobody that's the wrong person finds out about this."
Jody Casey, O'Rourke's campaign manager, was aware that her campaign's staff was aiding the migrants, according to Chacon. But she was unaware that they used a "prepaid card" to do so. Chacon describes receiving a text message from Casey explaining that she was "happy that we have a staff that, you know, gets it." He added that "she doesn’t know we used the prepaid card, but it's okay ... she doesn’t need to know.”
Chacon also considers using campaign vans to pick up more migrants.
“We could probably get away with using the vans. … Nobody needs to know,” he says. “For me, I can ignore the rules and I'll f**k it. I don't mind breaking the rules.”
Later in the video, Project Veritas' undercover journalist raises the issue of using "campaign resources" to help the migrants with Casey. "Don't worry," Casey says.
Another campaign field manager, Andrea Reyes, appears to reveal on video that she has text messages approving the use of campaign prepaid cards to buy food for migrants.
"Charity and helping your fellow man are things we applaud at Project Veritas Action,” Project Veritas Action president James O’Keefe says. “The problem is, you can’t break the law when you do it.”