Exclusive: Right-Wing Provocateur Who Tried to Scam Washington Post May Have Also Targeted Top Democratic Party Official

Updated | Jaime Phillips, the mysterious woman who tried to hoodwink The Washington Post with a phony story about being raped by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, may have also secretly targeted Brad Woodhouse, a prominent Democratic Party activist, a few months earlier, Newsweek has learned.

This past July and August, Phillips rented apartments in two Capitol Hill houses owned by Woodhouse, who was running both Correct the Record, a campaign fundraising outfit in support of Hillary Clinton, and a liberal advocacy group, Americans United for Change.

Woodhouse said Tuesday he was shocked to recognize the red-haired Phillips in the video that the Post recorded and published of its reporter’s climactic showdown with Phillips in a Virginia restaurant.

"I immediately recognized her name and face in the video," Woodhouse told Newsweek by phone. “I was stunned, but it didn't take me 10 minutes to put two and two together.”

Woodhouse and his wife had rented Phillips apartments in their two Capitol Hill houses through AirBnB for one week each, once in July, and again in August, he said. On one of the occasions, Phillips lived in a basement apartment underneath the couple’s living quarters.

"All sorts of things went through my head,” Woodhouse said Tuesday evening, referring to his reaction after seeing the video, which ended with the now-discovered Phillips abruptly ending the interview with Post reporter. “Things like, maybe her rifling through my houses to get stuff. Maybe planting listening devices — although that seems a bridge too far,” he said.

Still, he added, "It’s hard to believe it's a coincidence, but if it was a plot, I don't know what she was trying to get.”

Phillips could not be immediately reached for comment.

Woodhouse said he didn’t remember Phillips ever trying to pry into his private or professional affairs or otherwise to elicit information from him. They would occasionally engage in casual conversations in front of the house.  “She had a dog, and a male friend who stayed with her,” he said.

This past May, The Post reported, she opened a GoFundMe account to underwrite a move to New York “to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] of the liberal MSM.”

In her approach to The Post, Phillips, 41, appears to have been working for Project Veritas, a right wing outfit known for using undercover tactics and secret cameras in an effort to expose what it says is liberal bias in the mainstream media. The group’s leader, James O’Keefe, was convicted on a misdemeanor charge in 2010 of trying to enter a federal building under a false identity, and in 2013, he paid an employee of the ACORN community group $100,000 to settle a suit after airing a highly edited video interview that caused him to lose his job. O’Keefe also gained notoriety over the years with undercover videos of union and government officials, foundation executives, Planned Parenthood, and an NPR executive, all of which were highly edited to make them sound like they had out-of-bounds liberal agendas.

Phillips denied to The Washington Post that she was working for any outside group, or for Moore, the controversial Senate Republican candidate in Alabama, when she tried to plant a false story in the paper. But after a Post reporter confronted her with her lies about her true name and employment background, as well as the paper’s inability to corroborate her rape accusation against Moore, she was spotted entering the Project Veritas office in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Woodhouse, who now works as campaign director for Protect Our Care, founded to organize opposition to Republican efforts to abolish the Affordable Care Act,  had a previous run-in with Project Veritas. In the fall of of 2016, O’Keefe dispatched someone pretending to be a potential Democratic Party activist to meet with Scott Foval, the national field director for Americans United for Change, where Woodhouse was president.  O’Keefe later released a video that “showed [Foval] saying he hired mentally ill people to protest at Donald Trump events,” according to The Hill. Foval was fired. Then came the incident with the Post and Ray Moore.

This week, Woodhouse wondered if the events were connected.

"But that's the thing about O'Keefe's tactics,” he said. “You don't know exactly what their purpose is.”

This article has been updated. An earlier version said Jamie Phillips rented the apartments in 2016. It was in 2017.