The Inspector General of the Postal Service told Congress on Tuesday that a worker who had made unfounded allegations of ballot corruption at a facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, may disavow his allegations, which were inflated by Republicans to suggest widespread fraud in the Pennsylvania vote.
The Office of the Inspector General, Richard Hopkins, an Erie Post Office employee, said to “completely” retract allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with ballot papers in the mail” after investigators questioned him, to me Democratic Leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Shortly after the Democrats announced, Project Veritas – a conservative group that researchers say participated in a coordinated disinformation campaign to delegitimize the vote – released a video in which Mr. Hopkins said he had not actually retracted his remarks.
In a sworn affidavit submitted to President Trump’s campaign, Mr. Hopkins claimed that he heard what he believed to be a discussion about postponing postage on ballot papers that arrived at the postal facility after Election Day.
Ballot papers must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, to be counted. The substance of Mr. Hopkins’ claim was that postal workers had retrospective ballot papers that should have been disqualified.
Under Pennsylvania state procedures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, mail ballots that arrived at election offices after Election Day have been separated from those that arrived by November 3. They weren’t added to the vote count for any candidate, and President – Joseph Biden Jr.-Elect won Pennsylvania without them.
Only about 130 mailed ballots arrived after Election Day out of around 135,000 ballots cast in Erie County, according to Karl Anderson III, chair of the county election board. He said in a statement that the post office operations “will remain legitimate under scrutiny.”
Republicans, eager to find evidence of wrongdoing to support Mr. Trump’s fantasy that the election had been stolen from him, circulated Mr. Hopkins’ statement and multiplied it.
Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, chair of the Judiciary Committee, who has urged Mr. Trump to continue fighting the election results, sent Mr. Hopkins’ written statement to reporters with a statement in part: “Credible allegations of voting irregularities or misconduct will not be allowed to be hidden.” He later admitted in a television interview on Sunday that the allegations had not been verified.
Hopkins could not be reached for comment during the weekend.
Congress’s inspector general’s office said Mr. Hopkins had retracted his claim on Monday but “did not explain why he signed the bogus statement,” according to Oversight Committee staff.