- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2018

An American Federation of Teachers affiliate has moved to prevent Project Veritas from releasing more undercover video after two New Jersey union leaders were suspended for making comments prioritizing instructor jobs over student safety.

AFT Michigan filed Friday an emergency motion for a temporary injunction to halt Project Veritas from posting “unlawfully recorded private conversations” with union personnel secretly taped by an undercover investigator.

The motion referred to Project Veritas president James O’Keefe’s promise to post additional video and documents that AFT president Randi Weingarten “did not want you to see.”

“Project Veritas has posted YouTube videos broadcasting to the world its admission of illegal activity in Michigan and a promise to release the material it unlawfully obtained next week,” said the motion filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Mr. O’Keefe denied any illegality and accused the AFT, part of the AFL-CIO, of trying to suppress his First Amendment rights via prior restraint.



“Project Veritas does not engage in illegal activities — we follow both the letter and the spirit of the law,” said Mr. O’Keefe in a Friday statement. “This is clearly just an attempt to hide their dirty laundry and protect themselves from what we uncovered: but at the expense of who?”

The motion was filed shortly after two union officials in New Jersey — Hamilton Township Education Association president David Perry and Union City Education Association president Kathleen Valencia — were suspended for their apparent indifference to students injured by teachers.



After a Project Veritas investigator posing as a teacher’s sister told Ms. Valencia that her fictitious brother had pushed one of his middle-school students, who fell, the union president responded that “nothing happened” because there was no witness and no video.

“Did the kid’s parents come in? No? Nothing happened,” said Ms. Valencia in the recording posted Thursday. “There’s no video? Nothing happened.”

The New Jersey Education Association blasted Project Veritas, accusing it of sending “secret operatives, using false identities, to lie to other individuals while secretly recording them.”



At the same time, the NJEA said it “does not condone the abuse or mistreatment of children” and that it would commission “an independent review of the practices of our local affiliates and staff.”

“The purpose of that review is to ensure that every staff member and local affiliate leader understands and clearly communicates the responsibility of all school employees to report any suspected abuse of children,” said the NJEA in a statement.

The NJEA is an affiliate of the National Education Association. The NEA and AFT are the nation’s largest teachers’ unions.

In a video released Wednesday, Mr. Perry told the Project Veritas investigator using a similar story that, “I’m here to defend even the worst people.”

Mr. Perry urged the woman to tell her fictitious brother-in-law to come “tell me his side of the story so we have it ready” and promised to say nothing about the incident unless the student made a complaint.

“I need to know the truth so that we can bend the truth,” Mr. Perry said. “If nobody brings it up from [the] school, I don’t say boo.”

In the other video, Ms. Valencia pointed to a “huge file” on her desk that she said involved a teacher who had sex with a teenage girl, but that he wasn’t going to jail and in fact, the file concerned mainly whether he could keep his pension.

“Is he going to jail? No. How come? Because the child’s not pressing charges,” said Ms. Valencia in the video. “They have no proof there was sex.”

The Union City school board called the comments “deeply disturbing and inappropriate” in a Thursday statement to NJ.com.

AFT Michigan has previously tangled with Project Veritas, requesting in December a temporary restraining order, which the same court denied.

In the latest motion, AFT Michigan said Project Veritas had sent its agents to at least six state affiliates as well as at least three affiliates in Ohio “for the purpose of secretly recording teachers and their representatives and to falsely represent these conversations.”

The union asked the court to review any illegally obtained recordings and documents, and have them returned to AFT Michigan or destroyed.

“The PV ‘blitz’ was part of an organized effort to distort the mission and tasks of labor organizations representing public school teachers,” said the brief.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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