Democracy Dies in Darkness

Investigations

Undercover conservative activist rented basement apartment in home of top Democratic operative

November 28, 2017 at 10:44 PM

Reporter Stephanie McCrummen of The Post, left, interviews Jaime Phillips at a Greek restaurant in Alexandria, on November 22. ( Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

Shortly after announcing online that she was joining the "conservative media movement," Jaime Phillips checked into an Airbnb apartment for a two-week stay in the basement of the Capitol Hill home of Brad Woodhouse, the former communications director for the Democratic National Committee, Woodhouse said Tuesday.

Woodhouse said he recognized Phillips's name and image in a Washington Post story Monday that described how she falsely told reporters that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager. Phillips appears to work with Project Veritas, an organization that uses deceptive tactics and secretly records conversations in an effort to embarrass members of the mainstream media and left-leaning groups.

"I was stunned," Woodhouse said Tuesday night. "It took a little while to sink in and then it was like, 'Really? Are you kidding me?' "

James O'Keefe, the Project Veritas founder, declined to answer questions about whether he dispatched Phillips to rent from Woodhouse. Phillips did not respond to inquiries.

Woodhouse provided The Post with a record of Phillips's Airbnb booking, which included her name and her photo and said she was from Atlanta. In an interview last week, Phillips showed a Post reporter a Georgia driver's license with an Atlanta address.

Woodhouse recalled chatting with Phillips several times during the July stay and recalled that she had a dog, Leo. He recalled no unusually intrusive inquiries.

Woodhouse remained a prominent Democratic consultant after leaving the DNC in 2013. He was appointed in September to be campaign director of Protect Our Care, which advocates for the Affordable Care Act.

Weeks before the 2016 election, Woodhouse was president of Americans United for Change when two people associated with the liberal advocacy group were secretly filmed by O'Keefe's organization.

Scott Foval, a field operative, was recorded talking about disrupting Republican events and about how an organization might cover up voter fraud. Foval was fired. At the time, Foval said the video did not deserve attention from "legitimate news organizations."

Robert Creamer, whose consulting firm Democracy Partners used Foval as a contractor, left his job working for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign after the video surfaced. In a lawsuit filed in June, Democracy Partners and Creamer accused Project Veritas of violating federal laws on wiretapping in its undercover sting, an allegation O'Keefe has denied.

"That he had one of his operatives stay in properties of mine less than a year after he targeted me in one of his discredited scams seems hardly coincidental," Woodhouse said.

Woodhouse said Phillips also stayed in another Capitol Hill property he owns, for one week in August. She wanted to stay longer, he said, but it was not available. 

Woodhouse said he was unaware until Monday's Post story that two months before she stayed in his basement apartment, Phillips had posted a GoFundMe online fundraising appeal that said she was laid off from her job as a mortgage broker and was moving to New York to "combat the lies and deceit of the liberal MSM."

O'Keefe declined to answer questions Monday and Tuesday about whether Phillips worked for him, but he appeared to indirectly confirm the connection in a fundraising appeal after The Post published its story. Post reporters watched as Phillips walked into Project Veritas's office in Mamaroneck, N.Y, Monday morning, five days after presenting her with the GoFundMe page during an interview about her allegations against Moore.

"Following months of undercover work within The Washington Post, our investigative journalist embedded within the publication had their cover blown," he said in the email. "Please donate so our team can FULLY follow through on our promise to expose the Establishment Media in 2017 and 2018."


Beth Reinhard is a reporter on the investigative team at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, National Journal, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post.

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