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Entries in James O'Keefe (2)

Friday
Mar112011

New Video Suggests NPR Considered Accepting Bogus Donation

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Just a day after CEO Vivian Schiller resigned because of a leaked video that featured an NPR fundraiser denigrating Republicans and Tea Party members, a new recording released Thursday apparently shows that the news organization was ready to accept a $5 million check from a phony group linking itself to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Conservative activist James O'Keefe, who made the secret tape, says that a man posing as a representative from a group called the Muslim Education Action Center had a conversation with NPR’s senior director of institutional giving, Betsy Liley, in which she advised the group to make the contribution anonymously so as to avoid a government audit.

When further pressed about it, Liley tells a man identifying himself as Ibrahim Kasaam that since the IRS occasionally audits NPR's programs, "you might want to be an anonymous donor.  And, we would certainly, if that was your interest, want to shield you from that."

Responding to this latest accusation of possible impropriety, NPR released a series of e-mails that apparently reveal that it had at no time seriously considered the bogus $5 million from "the fraudulent organization."

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher told the website TPM that the agreement "never got beyond the internal drafting stage -- and was never sent.  Period."

Before resigning, Vivian Schiller wrote to Betsy Liley that the Muslim Education Action Center was acting oddly and that she wouldn’t take the money without more information, including data about the group that would need to be provided to the IRS.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

NPR CEO Resigns After Hidden Camera Sting Snares Top Fundraiser

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The embattled CEO of National Public Radio resigned Wednesday after the top fundraiser for NPR said offensive things about Republicans and the Tea Party during an undercover sting orchestrated by conservative "citizen-journalist" James O'Keefe.

Vivian Schiller, the ousted CEO, had also been criticized for NPR's firing of commentator Juan Williams last October.  But the controversial comments of Ron Schiller, NPR's top fundraiser, came during what he thought was a lunch with potential donors from a Muslim-affiliated trust.

"The Board accepted Vivian's resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years," said NPR Board Chairman Dave Edwards in a written statement.  NPR broke into its Morning Edition program so that its media correspondent David Folkenflik could report the news.

The sting was a secretly recorded lunch at a Georgetown restaurant.  In edited video released by O'Keefe on his Project Veritas website, Schiller is seen calling the Tea Party the "xenophobic," "seriously racist people," who are "fanatically involved in people's personal lives." He also claimed liberals are more educated than their conservative counterparts -- and potentially most damaging -- that NPR would be "better off" without federal funding.

The controversy comes at a delicate time for public broadcasting, including PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which got a nearly $450 million in federal funding last year.  President Obama proposed raising that amount to $451 million.  But with the federal government facing severe budget deficits, Tea Party groups and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seized upon Mr. Schiller's comments as an opportunity to advocate for cutting all federal funding to NPR.

NPR's Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, Joyce Slocum, will take over as interim CEO.

Ron Schiller, who was already scheduled to leave NPR in May, instead left Tuesday.  He apologized for the comments he made blasting Republicans and the Tea Party.

"While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse, I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR's values and also not reflective of my own beliefs," he said in a statement Tuesday. "I offer my sincere apology to those I offended."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio