Clinton’s alleged Donald Duck collusion
Campaign 2016 | Sting video shows Democratic operative talking about possibly illegal campaign activities
by Evan Wilt
Posted 10/25/16, 12:22 pm
WASHINGTON—Hillary Clinton appears to be ducking campaign laws, according to a new undercover video released this week by conservative activist James O’Keefe.
O’Keefe claims in his latest Project Veritas Action video that the Democratic presidential nominee engaged in illegal coordination between her campaign and super PACs to attack her opponent.
On hidden camera, several Clinton operatives explain the campaign ploy to Project Veritas journalists. Robert Creamer, a political consultant for Democracy Partners, details planned protests during which activists will wear Donald Duck costumes to remind voters how Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is “ducking” the release of his tax returns.
“In the end, it was the candidate, Hillary Clinton, the future president of the United States, who wanted ducks on the ground,” Creamer said. “So, by God, we will get ducks on the ground.”
Creamer immediately realizes the problem with the admission and adds, “don’t repeat that to anybody.”
The problem is that Clinton came up with the idea and she and the Democratic National Committee helped coordinate Donald Duck placements at events hosted by Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, according to Creamer. If true, the planned protests amount to illegally coordinated campaign expenditures.
After former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, Congress passed laws to limit campaign activities. The Federal Election Commission uses a three-pronged test, showing clear payment, conduct, and content, to determine instances of coordinated communication.
In the video, Scott Foval, field director for the non-profit American United for Change (AUFC), said he personally dressed up in a duck costume at Trump events—mentioning he almost got punched while wearing the suit. Because Foval was a paid employee for AUFC, his protest participation passes the test’s first prong, showing a third party paid for a campaign activity, according to O’Keefe.
Creamer’s admission that Clinton came up with the idea and wanted the Donald Duck costumes at Trump events meets the test’s conduct prong. And finally, the activity amounts to clear political content attempting to damage one candidate to boost another.
AUFC President Brad Woodhouse fired Foval last week after previously released O’Keefe videos showed him explaining how he incites violence at Trump rallies and discussing strategies to commit voter fraud. But on the latest recording, Woodhouse talks with Creamer about how they expect the duck costumes to lead to skirmishes.
After Foval’s firing, Creamer announced he would step back from his position at Democracy Partners. Creamer has worked closely with the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the Obama administration. O’Keefe makes a big deal of this, noting the Creamers visited the president’s residence 342 times, according to White House records.
At the end of the video, O’Keefe highlights the impact of his work, showing Creamer and Foval losing their jobs. But many say O’Keefe’s questionable ethics over the years suggest his videos could be misleading.
Political activist César Vargas, who appeared in the video about voter fraud, said on Facebook O’Keefe edited his words out of context.
“[Veritas is] a far-right group, the people working in it are political operatives, and all Trump supporters who were interviewing activist on their work confronting elected officials,” Vargas wrote. He added that he told the group he works with both Republicans and Democrats to help new citizens register to vote: “We organize for our families, not a political party. No surprise, they deleted this and many other parts and they just edited the video to distort the story.”
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on CNN the operatives in the undercover videos no longer work with the DNC and have never had a relationship with the campaign.
“The [videos] are edited so we don’t know what the full context is,” Mook said. “This is again an attempt from Donald Trump to distract from the real issues of this campaign.”
Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.