See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
Four House Democrats are calling for an investigation into the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as the group’s deceptively edited video attacking Planned Parenthood continues to fall apart under public scrutiny.
Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) sent a letter on Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking them to investigate whether any laws were broken in what they called an “elaborate, multi-year scheme to impersonate corporate officials from a fake biologics company” in order to secretly film and attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood employees.
“I believe the Center for Medical Progress may have broken the law in developing and executing this unbelievably elaborate and troubling scheme, and all Americans should have concerns about that,” Schakowsky said in a statement.
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“Like the millions of women who access their broad range of health services every day, we trust Planned Parenthood,” Nadler said in a statement. “This video is nothing more than a witch hunt.”
The lawmakers expressed concern about several issues that Rewire has reported on in recent days, including how anti-choice activist David Daleiden may have violated the law by misrepresenting the purpose of his fake corporate entity, and the likelihood that CMP violated California’s two-party consent law by secretly recording a private conversation.
“It is unclear from these reports what specific paperwork Mr. Daleiden’s group filed, whether the address listed ever hosted any legitimate business concern, the extent to which this group may have submitted false statements to governmental entities, whether the group transmitted fraudulent information through the mail or electronic communications, or whether this fake company filed tax returns or other documents with the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agencies,” the letter reads.
The lawmakers also had “other questions about possible coordination between the Center for Medical Progress and Members of Congress who knew about the video weeks in advance of its release,” according to a press release.
Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) admitted to having seen the video before it was released.
When asked by Roll Call why he did not speak out about the video earlier, Murphy fumbled for a response before abruptly ending the conversation and saying, “This interview didn’t happen.”
The letter from House Democrats also references provocateur James O’Keefe, a “friend” of Daleiden, who settled a private lawsuit for $100,000 after his videos attacking ACORN were found in 2010 by the attorney general of California to be “heavily edited” and misleading.
The lawmakers join a growing public outcry from independent watchdogs and media organizations against the Center for Medical Progress, including the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) and the New York Times editorial board.
“A hidden-camera video released last week purported to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. It shows nothing of the sort,” reads the Times editorial.