Project Veritas, the nonprofit organization caught this week in an apparent undercover scheme to deceive The Washington Post with a false story about sexual abuse, has another connection to the newspaper and its billionaire owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
AmazonSmile, which allows shoppers to peruse and purchase the same products that are available on Amazon.com, makes an automatic donation of 0.5 percent of the purchase price on eligible items to the charitable organization of a user’s choice.
Of the nearly 1 million organizations that AmazonSmile users can choose to support, Project Veritas is among them.
The organization’s stated mission is to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.”
Some pointed out the irony around the fact that funds could be directed toward Project Veritas via an Amazon program.
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) November 28, 2017
I want to know why the hell Project Veritas is allowed tax exempt status as a 501C3. And why does Amazon include them in their list of charities in their AmazonSmile program??? https://t.co/PfE5Ww05hI
— Peter Delacroix (@DocPeteyJ) November 28, 2017
GeekWire reached out to Amazon for comment about whether Project Veritas has received any donations through AmazonSmile and whether the company would consider removing the group from its list of eligible nonprofits.
In its story Monday, the Post called Veritas “an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups” by setting up “undercover ‘stings’ that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.”
The Post exposed a woman who falsely claimed that she had had a sexual relationship and was impregnated as a teenager by Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, who has been the focus of allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women.
Moore has denied any wrongdoing and a fierce debate has ensued in Alabama and around the country between those who believe he is unfit to hold public office and those seeking to discredit the media for reporting on the allegations against him.
Bezos purchased the Post for $250 million in 2013.
The newspaper initiated the firestorm around Moore with its Nov. 9 story about who woman who said she was 14 when the then 32-year-old Moore allegedly abused her in 1979.
Project Veritas, founded by James O’Keefe, calls itself “the most effective nonprofit on the national scene” with “dozens of successes” aimed at exposing corruption.
O’Keefe was defiant on Twitter on Monday, defending Project Veritas and its tactics. He posted a video in which Washington Post staffers discussed Bezos’ involvement with the newspaper, among other things.
Those who register for AmazonSmile donations must be legally recognized 501(c)3 organizations, which Project Veritas is. These nonprofits can’t be on the hate groups list provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Office of Foreign Assets Control watch list.