A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee whose claims about Erie, Pennsylvania postal workers being ordered to backdate mail-in ballots were touted by Republicans as evidence of widespread voter fraud “completely recanted” his allegations, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
In a series of Tuesday evening tweets, the committee said that investigators with the USPS Office of Inspector General confirmed that alleged whistleblower Richard Hopkins no longer stood behind his claims. Hopkins had signed an affidavit stating that Erie Postmaster Robert Weisenbach instructed USPS employees to collect mail-in ballots sent after Election Day and backdate them so they appeared to have been sent on or before Nov. 3. That was apparently not true.
“Here are the facts: Richard Hopkins is a USPS employee in Erie, Pa. He signed a sworn affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering/fraud and went public through Project Veritas. USPS [Inspector General] began investigating last week,” the House Oversight Committee said from its official Twitter account. “USPS IG investigators informed Committee staff today that they interviewed Hopkins on Friday, but that Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit.”
After receiving a copy of Hopkins’s affidavit from the Trump campaign on Friday, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—whose steadfast support for President Donald Trump’s feckless legal challenges has continued despite a dearth of supporting evidence—called on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the claims.
Hopkins first leveled the accusations against Weisenbach in a Wednesday video released Project Veritas, a conservative group run by James O’Keefe that is known for selectively edited or surreptitiously recorded “sting” operations.
Weisenbach vehemently denied the allegations Saturday in a Facebook post spotted by the Erie Times-News.
“Good evening my friends,” Weisenbach wrote, according to the newspaper. “There has been awful things posted about the USPS and here is my statement. The allegations made against me and the Erie Post Office are 100% false made by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times. The Erie Post Office did not back date any ballots.”
The failure of Hopkins’s allegations would mean that Republicans have been unable to produce any evidence—yet again—supporting claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
A GoFundMe that had raised more than $100,000 for Hopkins’s cause has since been taken down.
“Thank you James O’Keefe and Project Veritas for letting me tell my story when others wouldn’t,” the GoFundMe said.
In a video posted later by O’Keefe, Hopkins claimed that Washington Post was lying about him recanting his statements—then teased a drop of more information tomorrow.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, announced Tuesday that he is offering a reward of up to $1 million from his campaign account for “whistleblowers and tipsters” from anywhere in the nation that are able to come forward with evidence of voter fraud, further underscoring that the fraud claims made to date have flopped.
[image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images]
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