Conservative Facebook Investor Funded Anti-ACORN Videographer
Thiel, who co-runs the Founders Fund, is a hedge fund manager, web entrepreneur and venture capitalist worth $1.2 billion. Fortune magazine referred to him as the "don" of "the Pay Pal Mafia." Thiel is also co-author of The Diversity Myth: 'Multiculturalism' and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford. He was also co-founding editor of the conservative Stanford Review and was a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal circle that has included Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia.
"Is the new consciousness about race, gender, and sexual preference really the antidote to America's problems or a cause of them?" Thiel's book asks in its introduction. Another representative quote: "Multiculturalists like thinking of themselves as victims far too much to want to end their victimization. They need their imaginary oppressors to
give their lives meaning."
Thiel's book does not spare homosexuality. "Much [homosexual] behavior is being conducted in public, for the express purpose of shocking and offending others. The shock is then called 'homophobia' and is used as evidence of the oppression and victimization of homosexuals." The book (published in 1995) argues against Stanford instituting domestic partner benefits, complaining "even in purely economic terms, the costs are substantial...The end result is something of a random scrambling of people into "relationships," all claiming the right to live off of everyone else."
Though Thiel denies directly funding O'Keefe's latest videos, Thiel may have made them financially possible anyway. O'Keefe has, in the past, used support from one project to fuel another.
O'Keefe is a former member of the Leadership Institute, the conservative think tank that has turned out such graduates as Bush strategist Karl Rove, Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and "Talon News" fake White House blogger Jeff Gannon (real name: James Dale Guckert). The Institute has been involved in setting up conservative newspapers at colleges across the country, and gave O'Keefe a $500 "Balance in Media" grant to begin the Rutgers Centurion in 2005.
On his personal blog (quoted at Daily Kos, O'Keefe has taken the original link down), O'Keefe thanks "LI" for a $4,000 monitor to help him make his movies.
In the same way O'Keefe used equipment from the Leadership Institute to make his future films, he may have made use of Thiel's cash infusion for future projects, too. The "Taxpayers Clearing House" video that Thiel's money made possible was posted just a few months before O'Keefe and Giles set off on their summer adventure. The multiple ACORN videos were shot and produced over the course of more than two months, in San Diego, San Bernardino, Brooklyn, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (plus an unknown number of other cities, like Philadelphia, where O'Keefe attempted to shoot but the sting failed).
O'Keefe declined to be interviewed by phone for this article, and did not respond to e-mailed questions. But he has not publicly explained how the help he's received from either the Leadership Institute or from Peter Thiel has influenced his filmmaking -- or how they may have made a summer traveling around the country for undercover stings possible.
UPDATE: Thiel's spokesman, James O'Neill, disputes Farkas' estimate of $30,000, saying that Thiel's contribution was only "about $10,000."