In conservative James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas’s third major National Public Radio (NPR) sting tape release, Betsy Liley, the taxpayer-funded radio network’s director of institutional giving is heard saying controversial left-wing billionaire George Soros has donated to the organization before last October’s $1.8 million gift. Liley is currently on administrative leave, but her bosses, Ron Schiller, the president of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) were both fired.
Liley brought up Soros and his nonprofit organization, the Open Society Institute, while discussing what kind of on-air publicity the Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust would want in exchange for its donation. Liley mentioned that Soros and his organization decided they didn’t want on-air publicity for their donation to avoid conservatives’ scrutiny.
“George Soros and the Open Society Institute gave us $1.8 million, and they have decided not to use on-air credits because of what’s happening in Congress,” Liley said. When the man she thought represented the fictitious Muslim Brotherhood front group asked her how Soros’s donation and “what’s happening in Congress,” relate, Liley said conservatives tried to link Soros’s donation to Juan Williams’s firing.
“I think the first gift was within the first year he set up the Foundation, which was 10 or 15 years ago,” Liley said. “But, it was a different political situation and current events were a little different, and so, it went through – I was not here, but I think it went – there wasn’t a press hullabaloo. I mean, the Open Society Institute was getting – you know, the conservatives on some of the websites, were having people call his foundation. The press was calling and so, it became, kind of – you know they got roped into the Juan Williams thing, which they didn’t feel like they needed to be.”
WATCH: James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas third NPR sting investigation release:
Liley explains, though, that Soros’s contribution had “nothing to do with” Juan Williams’s firing, but, that perception caused him to choose to avoid publicity with air-time donors usually take advantage of.
“No one here has even met Mr. Soros,” Liley said. “But, in light of that, his foundation chose not to use their on-air credits because they felt like it would just add more fuel to the fire that was an unnecessary fire for them. They don’t need the recognition. So, I bring it up just as an example of choices that different people make.”
O’Keefe includes phone calls he and another member of Project Veritas made to Soros’s Open Society Institute communications staffer Kritika Bansal in the video asking about the donation. She suggested that O’Keefe email her the question. O’Keefe followed up by asking if all Soros’s organization’s donation are public on its website. “It should be,” Bansal said. “All of our grant money should be on the website.” O’Keefe then asked if the Open Society Institute donates through other institutions or intermediaries. Bansal answered, “I don’t think so,” and hung up the phone.
The new tape is a phone call from the morning of Feb. 28, the same day O’Keefe’s previous release’s phone calls were made. Those calls were made later in the day.
In this tape, Liley also talked with the fictitious Muslim Brotherhood front group’s representative about how MEAC Trust would make its $5 million donation later that week. The actor said his organization would send interns to NPR’s headquarters to deliver the check and meet NPR CEO Vivian Schiller – but that he didn’t want press or publicity for the ceremony.
“What I will do is call her and see what’s possible for Vivian as far as being in the office and having some time available,” Liley said. “Then, I will e-mail you and let you know what that looks like as far as time and then we can. I’d also like to be here so we can kind of bring them [MEAC Trust interns] upstairs, and meet them and show them around a little bit. If you think they’d be interested in seeing NPR.”