Rule of Law

Revealed: U.S. Justice Department and New Hampshire's Criminal Investigation of James O'Keefe's Voter ID Video

PJ Media has obtained documents demonstrating that the New Hampshire attorney general was in discussions with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice regarding filing criminal charges against journalist James O’Keefe after he exposed vulnerabilities in New Hampshire’s electoral system in the January 10, 2012, presidential primary.

In his hidden-camera investigation, O’Keefe demonstrated how the lack of a photo-voter identification law in New Hampshire facilitated voter fraud by allowing impersonation of dead voters.  Worse, O’Keefe captured video showing that election officials like Ryk Bullock were oblivious to this vulnerability.

Ryk Bullock

Ryk Bullock


Bullock said that voter impersonation of dead voters could not take place “because we are tied into a statewide system. So when someone passes away, that name is immediately dropped from the statewide database, within a matter of days. … We go to great lengths.”  Bullock was wrong.

As a direct result of O’Keefe’s expose, the New Hampshire legislature passed a photo voter -identification law.

State and federal officials, however, targeted O’Keefe after his expose.

New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Richard Head managed a criminal investigation of O’Keefe which included boorish and unprofessional attempts to serve grand jury subpoenas on O’Keefe and his employees.

But documents reveal that Head’s pursuit of O’Keefe went beyond his ham-handed efforts at service of process.

On January 17, 2012, Head convened a meeting with at least eight top-ranking law enforcement officials about O’Keefe’s expose.  Included for this meeting were Obama appointee and United States Attorney for New Hampshire John Kacavas. State officials included Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Jane Young, Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards, Bureau Chief Mary Ann Dempsey, attorney Matthew Mavrogeorge, investigator Mark Mydrek, and Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice.

Ann Rice (L) and Jane Young (R)

Ann Rice (L) and Jane Young (R)

The January 17 meeting was just the beginning.

According to emails obtained under public records laws, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office again coordinated with the United States Department of Justice in February 2012 regarding O’Keefe’s voter ID expose.

In February 2012, New Hampshire  Assistant Attorney Genereal Matthew Mavrogeorge, still on the O’Keefe case, organized another meeting with New Hampshire law enforcement officials and DOJ officials, but this time it included FBI investigators.

It is unclear what federal statutory predicate would justify an FBI investigation of O’Keefe’s voter ID expose.

Matthew Mavrogeorge

Matthew Mavrogeorge

Included in Mavrogeorge’s invitation to the February 2012 meeting about O’Keefe were FBI Special Agent Marcie Difede out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Feith:

Subject: James O’Keefe, Matt has asked me to schedule a meeting with Macie [sic] Difede of the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Feith re James O’Keefe and Project Veritas.  The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 29 at 9:30 in Room 8.

State law enforcement officials who were requested to attend were New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney, Chief Investigator Paul Brodeur, Criminal Investigator Richard Tracy, paralegal Laura Maynard, Head, Dempsey, Rice and Mydrek.

Perhaps recognizing the absurdity of devoting so many resources to a journalist’s expose, Attorney General Michael Delaney responded:  “I would suggest that we do not need 7 in attendance.”

Eventually only Mavrogeorge and Mydrek were slated to attend the meeting with the FBI regarding O’Keefe.

On March 22, Ann Rice sent an email to Head; it was obtained by PJ Media:

RE: Project Veritas. [U.S. Attorney] John Kacavas is out until Monday.  I spoke with [Assistant U.S. Attorney] Don Feith.  He said it’s on hold because they’re in a dance w/DOJ, but John said they’d “nail it down” next week. So, a little longer hold.

The documents do not reveal what “it” is.

AUSA John Kacavas

USA John Kacavas

While this was happening, left-wing journalists were attempting to gin up criminal charges against O’Keefe. They enlisted the help of a number of election “experts” who opined, incorrectly in hindsight, that O’Keefe had criminal liability for his actions. Among them were Richard Hasen at University of California at Irvine’s law school.  The “experts” never mentioned a statutory predicate for any criminal charges. O’Keefe was never charged.

A Freedom of Information Act request for these documents was made on May 10, 2012.  New Hampshire did not comply with the request until June 13, 2013.  Associate Attorney General Richard Head said that the request was delayed because “there was an open investigation regarding Project Veritas and Mr. O’Keefe.”

The documents were only provided after O’Keefe conducted an ambush interview of Richard Head at his office in New Hampshire and asked Head why he did not comply with the public records request.

Richard Head

Richard Head

Given the communications between the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and the DOJ over the course of multiple months, and with so many government employees involved, it is inconceivable that Richard Head’s response of June 13, 2013, contains all of the documents responsive to the May 10, 2012, request.

PJ Media has sued Eric Holder for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request. After filing that suit, the Department of Justice provided the requested documents.

The Justice Department’s scrutiny of O’Keefe for exposing voter-fraud vulnerabilities contrasts with the DOJ’s failure to prosecute voter fraud in other places.

Recently, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler discovered that as many as fifteen foreigners had registered to vote in Colorado, and some of them voted.  It is a criminal violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1015(f), 18 U.S.C. § 911 and 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-10(2) to do so.

Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh

Thus far, not a word from John Walsh, the United States attorney for Colorado.  It seems Walsh is not devoting anywhere near the effort to charge these 15 aliens with crimes that his Justice Department, in collusion with the New Hampshire attorney general, devoted to Project Veritas.

As James Rosen of Fox News has learned, in the age of Obama, some people are targeted, and some are not.  Content, not conduct, seems to make the difference.

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