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Project Veritas, founded by James O’Keefe, is laying off workers and pausing fundraising

Project Veritas, a conservative nonprofit group, is laying off staff and pausing its fundraising “due to various events and circumstances,” CEO Hannah Giles said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

Giles didn’t disclose how many workers are getting cut, nor elaborate on what spurred the layoffs and halt in fundraising. A report from Mediaite said that six employees were laid off this week, including all journalists and one development associate, leaving 11 people on the nonprofit’s payroll. 

The cutbacks come after Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe was ousted from the group in February. Project Veritas sued O’Keefe in May, accusing him of breaching his contract by allegedly engaging in “incredibly troubling workplace and financial misconduct,” including screaming at colleagues and asking staffers run errands for him, such as picking up laundry and cleaning his boat.

American Conservative Union Holds Annual CPAC Conference In Orlando
James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, speaks at the Conservative Political  Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on February 24, 2022.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

O’Keefe’s allegedly lavish spending included $10,000 for a helicopter flight from New York to Maine and more than $150,000 on private car services over an 18-month period. 

“Project Veritas is continuing to operate, but due to various events and circumstances we are making changes in the operations of our organization including laying off additional employees,” Giles told CBS MoneyWatch. “We are pausing our fundraising efforts and proactively taking steps to honor our donors’ expectations and to preserve the trust the American people have placed in us.”

Project Veritas is known for hidden camera stings that have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations and Democratic politicians. Some of the group’s stings have drawn criticism, such as a 2015 stunt in which O’Keefe tried to trick a staffer working for Hillary Clinton into accepting a $75 donation from someone identified as a Canadian citizen.

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

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