DALLAS — Project Veritas is a conservative watchdog group that uses undercover cameras to investigate and expose what founder James O'Keefe calls fraud and corruption.
His latest target is health care, and workers in Dallas and Irving who are helping people obtain insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
The newest video posted on the Project Veritas website and YouTube is highly edited. It was shot inside two Urban League of Greater Dallas offices, Project Veritas said.
Inside the Urban League's Irving office, a Project Veritas worker posing as a potential enrollee asks how to answer the question on the health care application forms about whether he smokes. "It says something about if you smoke or something like that..." he says.
The Urban League employee, later identified by the Urban League as a part-time receptionist, replies, "You lie because your premiums will be higher" Her co-worker adds: "Don't tell them that, don't tell them that."
The receptionist then volunteers this information: "I always lie on mine."
The Urban League announced Tuesday night it had fired the receptionist who told the enrollee to lie.
The Project Veritas cameras captured another interaction in the Urban League's Dallas office.
The undercover Project Vertias worker posing as an enrollee admits to Urban League employees that he doesn't claim all his income on his federal taxes. Urban League employees who were in training to become navigators told him he was supposed to.
"You're supposed to file a percentage," one woman said. "A percent?" he asked, laughing. "Yeah, because you're making money on a cash basis you're supposed to," the worker replied. But then she added this: "Don't get yourself in trouble by declaring it now."
"Yeah, it didn't happen," said a co-worker.
They explained to him, declaring the income now would put him at risk for an audit by the IRS. The Urban League of Greater Dallas announced Tuesday night it suspended three employees involved in that interaction.
The federal government gave the Urban League more than $376,000 in grant money to help individuals navigate the health care system, but that's only a fraction of the $11 million given to other Texas organizations.
An Urban League of Greater Dallas spokesperson released a statement saying the Urban League "does not condone, nor would we ever sanction, misleading the public or any individual who seeks our assistance about any issue, and particularly in this case, an issue as critical as health care."
O'Keefe used undercover cameras to film workers in ACORN offices in 2009. He said he uncovered illegal acts of voter fraud. However, the workers were later cleared.
Because the video comes from O'Keefe's partisan activist group, the Urban League is requesting an unedited copy and promising a full investigation.