NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – In its second hidden camera video, the conservative watchdog group Project Veritas goes to Fort Worth, Houston, and Luling, Texas.
As in the group’s first video that received national attention, it appears to show employees, known as either “navigators” or “certified application counselors”, advising people to lie about their income in order to obtain a cheaper premium. These employees are the people helping to enroll consumers in the health insurance marketplace.
Conservative activist and UNT student Lawrence Jones is one of the people who obtained the hidden camera footage. Jones said, “They told me to lie. Repeatedly. But not everywhere place we went, there were some good people.”
In the newly released video, it shows a certified application counselor at the North Texas Area Community Health Center on Main Street in Fort Worth. The facility received nearly $140,000 from the government to help people sign up for health insurance.
On the video, Jones asks the counselor about reporting all of his income. The counselor asks Jones, “Do you report this on your taxes?” Jones says, “No, I don’t report it.” The counselor replies, “Don’t put it on there. No, because it’s only the income that you report to your taxes.” Jones replies, “Oh, okay, yeah, I never reported it on that.”
Dr. Liz Trevino, CEO of the North Texas Area Community Health Center, says it’s unfortunate that someone came into their facility to trick her staff. Trevino said she needs to see the full video before she determines whether she needs to take any action. She also said her counselors are not tax experts, so they’re trained to tell people to be consistent with what they report on their income taxes and health insurance applications.
Project Veritas’ first video led the Urban League of Greater Dallas to fire one employee and suspend three others. The Urban League said in a statement that it “does not condone, nor would we ever sanction misleading the public or any individual who seeks our assistance about any issue, and particularly in this case, an issue as critical as health care.”
Critics of the videos have called them political. Jones strongly disagrees. “That’s preposterous. This has nothing to do with party, and has nothing to do with whether you’re a liberal or conservative. Fraud was there. fraud is fraud, and I think the American people deserve better than this.”
Jones told CBS 11 News that he’s received threatening phone calls and messages on social media, but he isn’t backing down. “Despite all the threats, despite all the nasty phone calls, it pays to be able to sleep at night, and say I did the right thing.”
Project Veritas says it will be releasing more hidden camera videos next week.
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