A conservative activist accused of trying to tamper with a Louisiana senator's phones says he wanted to investigate criticisms that constituents calling her office couldn't get through.
James O'Keefeposted a statement Friday on the Web site biggovernment.com.
He says he learned about problems with calls to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office and wanted to investigate. He says nobody tried to wiretap or bug her office in a New Orleans federal building.
"I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the health care bill," the statement reads. "When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that,'Our lines have been jammed for weeks.' I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for 'weeks' because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working."
Federal officials say he appeared to record with a cell phone as two others dressed as phone repairmen went into Landrieu's office and said they needed to work on her phones.
O'Keefe says on reflection he could have used a different approach to the investigation, especially since people are sensitive about security in a federal building.