Lasonde: Schakowsky should resign over video

In the wake of controversial "Rigging the Election" videos released by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action, Bob Creamer, the husband of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, resigned Wednesday from the job he was doing with the Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Now, Schakowsky is being called on to resign by her opponent in the 9th congressional District, Republican Joan McCarthy Lasonde.

Schakowsky says it's "ridiculous" and she has no intention of resigning, adding neither she nor her husband has done anything wrong.

At a news conference Wednesday in front of Schakowsky's Evanston office, Lasonde accused the longtime Democratic congresswoman of being a party to activities shown on the video, which included discussions on how to win elections and orchestrate mayhem at a March rally for Donald Trump in Chicago.

Lasonde distributed a photo she says shows Schakowsky at a protest the same day as the Trump rally but at a different Chicago location, holding a sign that said "Trump Cruz Rauner, the 'Gang of Hate,'" with beneath it - a group that appears in the video and which her husband's firm hired as a subcontractor.

"Schakowsky almost certainly participated in those activities, and at a minimum, she must have known about them, and she could have stopped them. This is a sickening and terrifying an abuse of power," Lasonde said, as her supporters cheered.

Schakowsky questioned why Lasonde would associate herself with O'Keefe's controversial reporting, which according to The Washington Post leads people into saying things while being secretly filmed and then heavily edits the footage.

"The whole thing is just ridiculous. ... No evidence of improper activity was found," Schakowsky said. "(Creamer) resigned because he didn't want to be a distraction to the campaign. Why become part of the story when we're heading toward victory here?"

Lasonde wants state and federal authorities to investigate. "Inciting violence is criminal," she said.

Creamer and Scott Foval, the national field director of Americans United for Change, are shown in the videos. Foval tells infiltrators toting hidden cameras how they've disrupted GOP events and how an organization might cover up in-person voter fraud. The Creamer-founded Democracy Partners, which used Foval as a contractor, denounced both Project Veritas and the statements caught on camera.

"Our firm has recently been the victim of a well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars," said the firm. "The plot involved the use of trained operatives using false identifications, disguises and elaborate false covers to infiltrate our firm and others, in order to steal campaign plans, and goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras. One of those individuals was a temporary regional subcontractor who was goaded into statements that do not reflect our values."

Both "scalps," as O'Keefe refers to them, drew new attention to Project Veritas Action, a campaign that had become viewed very skeptically by political reporters. O'Keefe's 2009 sting of ACORN led to the destruction of that group; a 2011 sting of NPR executives led to two resignations. Subsequent investigations found discrepancies between how the undercover operatives approached their targets and how they packaged what the targets said. In the latter case, then-NPR executive Ron Schiller quoted a Republican who viewed Tea Party activists as "racist"; the edited clip made it appear Schiller himself held that opinion.

In the "Rigging the Election" video, Foval takes credit for violence that canceled a Trump rally at the University of Illinois in Chicago, admits he's paid "mentally ill" people to start trouble, and says there's a "Pony Express" that keeps Democratic operatives in touch, regardless of whether they work for super PACs or the campaigns not permitted to coordinate with super PACs.

Foval has responded to media requests by saying the video did not deserve attention from "legitimate news organizations." A call to Creamer went to voice mail.

Foval seems to overhype his successes. Reporters who covered the Trump UIC appearance found that students, not Americans United for Change, were responsible for the shutdown of the Trump rally.

In one video, Creamer is seen talking to someone posing as a possible donor, answering questions about how to get voter IDs to people who need them.

While the implication is that the "donor" is pitching mass voter fraud, he never says as much and Creamer never agrees to it. In another tape, Creamer hears another version of the pitch and says "my fear is that someone would decide that this is a big voter fraud scheme."

In the past, and in the wake of bad publicity, Project Veritas Action posted the entirety of its video stings online. It no longer does this.

"The reporting process and methods of Project Veritas Action are proven successful and effective and are the protected intellectual property and trade secrets of Project Veritas Action," said spokesman Steve Gordon.

• The Washington Post contributed to this report.

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