Conservative Facebook Investor Funded Anti-ACORN Videographer - 2009-09-22
James O'Keefe, the activist filmmaker who achieved sudden fame for a series of undercover videos recording ACORN workers, has repeatedly said that he is "absolutely independent" and received no outside funding to make his films.
But the Voice has learned that O'Keefe, in fact, has had heavyweight conservative backers who funded the young filmmaker as recently as a few months before his ACORN films were made.
The ACORN videos are actually just the latest of several films O'Keefe has produced and uploaded to YouTube. An earlier film posted in February, "Taxpayers Clearing House" featured nonwhite, working class people being duped by O'Keefe, who led them to believe they had won money in a sweepstakes.
That video was produced with the help of a grant — said to be about $30,000 [Thiel's spokesman says closer to $10,000 — see update] — from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook — an investment which made him a billionaire. Thiel is one of Silicon Valley's more interesting figures: a gay man (according to Gawker) who has railed against the evils of "multiculturalism." He lives in San Francisco and today runs a hedge fund.