California Educator

April/May 2023

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Page 34 of 61

T W O O P E R A T I V E S from documented disinformation peddler Project Veritas made repeated unsuccessful attempts to access CTA's State Council of Education meeting at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles in late January. e duo appeared to be known Project Veritas operative Christian Hartsock and a female companion — Project Veritas and Hartsock have a lengthy history of using secretly obtained video to lie and deceive. ey approached numerous CTA members and staff at the hotel over the State Council weekend, attempting to obtain credentials to enter secured meeting areas by misrepresenting their identities and inten- tions. Among the lies they told: Hartsock and friend said they worked for the Arizona Education Association and claimed the woman was a teacher in Arizona, even attempting to register and obtain badges — where they were turned away by staff. e Project Veritas operatives also spent some time in hotel common areas, approaching members as "teachers from Arizona" and then asking pointed questions about LGBTQ+ and gender issues. Hartsock and the woman were identified after approaching a CTA member and staff in the lobby and asking questions that seemed suspicious. Upon consulting data available on Project Veritas, it was confirmed the two were targeting CTA State Council and possibly secretly recording members. All members of State Council were notified of the threat, while leaders and staff stepped up vigilance in protecting members and securing our meeting. Project Veritas is a far-right activist organization, founded by video provocateur James O'Keefe. Project Veritas operatives secretly record individuals, produce deceptive, heavily edited videos and commentary, and launch negative campaigns aimed at targeted institutions and individuals. Project Veritas Uninvited Guests Far-right group Project Veritas caught trying to crash CTA State Council Project Veritas has a history of targeting teachers unions and educators in its smear campaigns to foment distrust in public education systems and spark culture wars in schools nationwide. 33 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 3 A

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