James O’Keefe and his camera are making headlines again.
The same conservative activist who brought you video of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) members allegedly advising clients on how to evade taxes has a new video out, this one taking aim at New Jersey teachers union members allegedly caught making compromising statements about the union and its battle with Gov. Chris Christie.
” Teachers Unions Gone Wild” is making the Youtube rounds, adding more fuel to the bonfire that has erupted since Christie took office and openly challenged the New Jersey Education Association.
O’Keefe purportedly hired hidden camera operators who took the video this summer during the NJEA’s leadership conference in New Brunswick.
In one segment a teacher, who the video identifies as being from a school district in Passaic County, brags about the lengths a tenured teacher must go to before getting fired.
“It’s really hard to fire a tenured teacher, really hard,” the teacher said. “Like you seriously have to be in the hallway f***ing somebody.”
The same teacher told the camera operator of a case in Passaic where a teacher shouted a racial epithet at a student and was not fired.
Continuing a theme that began last summer when union members and some officials posted disparaging remarks about Christie on Facebook pages and circulated a tongue in cheek prayer for the governor’s death, the hidden video purports to capture members taking aim at the governor with chants and songs.
“Let’s have a whiskey and get a little misty, join me now and slander Chris Christie,” one alleged teacher caught on video chants.
“Read and write and arithmetic, in comes Christie with a whipping stick,” another chants. “What are we gonna do? Kick him in the tool box,” the chant ends.
A spokesman for the governor stressed that the video is not indicative of the teachers in New Jersey, but would not say the same for its union leaders.
“We know it’s not representative of New Jersey teachers at all. What it says about NJEA leadership we’ll leave to viewers of the videos to decide,” said spokesman Michael Drewniak.
Another segment purports to show a teachers union official explaining how the union slipped language into an application that appears to be the original Race to the Top application without the governor’s knowledge.
NJEA spokesman Steven Baker discounted the video as pure fabrication and pointed to O’Keefe’s history as proof that nothing in the video can be verified.
“Consider the source. This is a guy who is on probation for his illegal actions in trying to pull a scam on a U.S. Senator,” Baker said referring to a case earlier this year in which O’Keefe pleaded guilty and is on probation after he was arrested posing as a telephone repairman in an attempt to enter the offices of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Baker also cited a bizarre incident last summer when according to CNN, O’Keefe tried to set up one of its reporters in a sex scandal, by luring her onto a boat replete with sex props and attempting to seduce her.
As for the video of the NJEA members, Baker said he was at the conference and did not see any of the incidents recorded by O’Keefe’s cameras.
“I can’t verify anything on that video,” Baker said. “I was there and I never heard any of it. It’s a huge conference. It could have been I don’t know but the point is nobody can know whether any of it is legitimate. This is a guy with a well documented history of trying to fabricate the stories he is trying to create.”
O’Keefe did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.