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ACORN video actress interned at Mooney's journalism program

September 24, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARYLAND -- Hannah Giles, who pretended to be a prostitute seeking advice from the group ACORN, interned this summer at the National Journalism Center, whose executive director is state Sen. Alex X. Mooney.

"We're proud of her," Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, said Thursday.

Giles and James O'Keefe III, portraying a pimp, caused a stir with their undercover videos that apparently show ACORN workers in different cities giving advice on illegal activities, such as running a prostitution business and trafficking teenagers from Central America.

After the videos circulated, Congress blocked federal funding to ACORN, which stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Mooney said Giles worked on the ACORN project on her own, outside of her internship, but told people at the National Journalism Center about it after she and O'Keefe made their first few videos.

By exposing the controversial group, "she's done something a lot of seasoned journalists have neglected to do," Mooney said.

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The Washington, D.C.-based National Journalism Center is an arm of the Young America's Foundation, an organization that advances conservative ideals, such as free enterprise.

Mooney said there are three 12-week sessions each year. Generally, students are placed at news operations four days a week to get hands-on experience.

Giles' internship was at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which describes itself as "a non-profit organization created to lobby lawmakers in favor of market liberalization."

"She was a great intern," Mooney said. "She was definitely one of the stars."

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