The tape, dramatically titled "Russ Feingold: Hillary Might Issue Executive Order on Guns," shows O'Keefe suiting up and driving to a Palo Alto, Calif., fundraiser for Feingold. (The Democrat's short stint at Stanford University, and fundraising and California, have been attacked by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's campaign.) Once there, an unidentified Project Veritas reporter prompts Feingold to talk about guns.
“If there’s still Republican control of Congress, and if Hillary is elected, is there anything she can do to...” the reporter asks Feingold in the tape.
“Well, there might be an executive order,” Feingold responds.
“Oh, so she can, I know that Barack...” the reporter says.
“He did some executive orders with regards to the aspects of waiting periods," Feingold said. "But what we all need is the Senate, have her there, and then put pressure on the House. And we might win the House."
Far from a secret, Feingold's position is the one he has held through a tough campaign. In January, he praised President Obama for the aforementioned executive actions on guns. "President Obama was right to take action," Feingold said. "It is a shame that Congress refuses to act on even a few modest and constitutional steps to address gun violence."
Project Veritas and other conservative news sources have hinted at something darker to come. In this video, O'Keefe notes that a hacked email included in a recent WikiLeaks tranche found that Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon "supports closing the gun show loophole — by executive order."
But that email was hardly guarding a secret. Fallon was informing pollster John Anzalone of a background briefing for reporters "on a few of the specific proposals she would support as President — universal background checks of course, but also closing the gun show loophole by executive order and imposing manufacturer liability."
This was reported in the following months by some outlets that are now ringing alarm bells about the "revelation" from WikiLeaks. In May, Breitbart News reported, based on The Washington Post's coverage, that Clinton was "planning to use executive action to "'go further than Obama' on gun control." Last week, the very same Breibart reporter behind that article ran an alert about the Fallon email. Indeed, the reporter, Awr Hawkins, notes later in the article that Clinton has been consistent.
"Breitbart News has previously reported that Clinton pledged gun control by executive orders," Hawkins writes. "She began pushing executive gun control right after the shooting in the Umpqua Community College gun free zone. That incident occurred on October 1, 2015, three days before Fallon’s email that Clinton 'would support … closing the gun show loophole by executive order.' This is in line with a Washington Post report that Clinton wants to use executive orders “to go further than Obama” went on gun control."
As with many WikiLeaks-inspired stories on the right, the undercover Feingold tape reveals something any attentive voter or reporter knew already, but it does it with an air of intrigue. The difference this time is that the Feingold who sticks to his position in California defies one of the attacks made by Republicans — that Feingold might be saying one thing to liberal donors and another to Wisconsin. At the end of today's tape, O'Keefe acknowledges that "Feingold's stance on guns disappointed some of the big west coast donors I spoke with."