The halcyon days of pimpin'

In the wake of James O'Keefe's bungled wiretapping attempt on the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, Andrew Breibart, conservative blogger extraordinaire, has claimed he has no connection to the scheme. Adam Serwer of The American Prospect takes exception with that claim

Following the arrest of conservative activist James O'Keefe and three others allegedly attempting to "interfere with the telephone system" in the New Orleans offices of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, Andrew Breitbart, whose website hosted the selectively edited ACORN tapes that propelled O'Keefe to conservative stardom, issued a statement saying he had "no connection" to the incident.

“We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.”

That doesn't appear to be accurate. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt yesterday highlighted by Media Matters, Breitbart acknowledged that O'Keefe was on his payroll:

AB: When the story came to us, what I wanted to do was to make sure that the ACORN story got as much widespread dissemination as humanly possible. The videos that he independently produced went on YouTube. And so Huffington Post, every single site put it out there, including my sites. What he does for the site exclusively is he tells his life rights, basically. So when he puts a story out there, it’s on the Brietbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired. So…

HH: Do you pay him for that?

AB: Yes.

HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?

AB: I’ll…perhaps at another date, but he’s paid a fair salary.

So Breitbart was paying O'Keefe a salary to come up with sensational stories involving liberal targets. That's not "nothing." Moreover, it's worth noting that O'Keefe had already potentially broken laws in Maryland and California with his original ACORN scheme, so it's not as though Breitbart can say he was ignorant of O'Keefe's recklessness or lack of journalistic ethics. It seems more accurate to say that Breitbart was paying O'Keefe precisely to do this kind of kamikaze activism, without caring too much about the details until O'Keefe got hemmed up by federal agents. In the meantime, Breitbart is uncharacteristically encouraging everyone to "wait for the facts".

Thoughts? Rebuttals?