by Chuck Ross
A postal service worker in Pennsylvania is disputing House Democrats’ claims that he recanted allegations that his supervisors ordered employees to back-date mail-in voting ballots after Election Day.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said in a statement on Tuesday that Richard Hopkins, a postal worker in Erie, Pa., retracted his story during interviews with investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s office of the inspector general.
Hopkins claimed in an interview with the conservative group Project Veritas last week that he overheard supervisors discussing backdating mail-in ballots received after the election on Nov. 3 so that they would still be counted in the state’s vote tally.
Videos of interviews with Hopkins have received millions of views and attracted congressional attention. Hopkins also set up an online fundraiser that had generated $130,000 in donations until it was taken offline on Tuesday.
Hopkins’ supervisor, Rob Weisenbach, has vehemently denied allegations that he directed employees to back-date mail-in ballots.
“The Erie Post Office did not back date any ballots,” Weisenbach, the postmaster in Erie, wrote on Facebook over the weekend, according to the Erie Times-News.
He said Hopkins’ story was “100% false” and that Hopkins had recently been disciplined multiple times.
Hopkins’ allegations gained traction among Republicans who have questioned the vote tally in Pennsylvania and other swing states.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham cited Hopkins’ allegations in a press release saying he would investigate all credible allegations of voter fraud.
If Hopkins’ story is accurate, the voter fraud he claims to have witnessed is likely not extensive enough to swing Pennsylvania in President Trump’s favor. Joe Biden currently leads President Donald Trump by 48,000 votes in the state.
The Associated Press projected on Saturday that Biden won Pennsylvania, giving him enough electoral college votes to win the general election.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several swing states but has not provided evidence of voter fraud on the scale that would change the outcome in any of the swing states.
House Democrats asserted that Hopkins had “completely” recanted his allegations on Monday following an interview with postal service investigators.
The IG’s office briefed Congress on its investigation of Hopkins’ claims, Democrats said.
BREAKING NEWS: Erie, Pa. #USPS whistleblower completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators, according to IG.
— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) November 10, 2020
Hopkins was adamant in an interview with Project Veritas published on Tuesday that he did not recant his initial story.
“I did not recant,” he said in a video posted by Project Veritas president James O’Keefe.
USPS Whistleblower Richard Hopkins: “I DID NOT RECANT”@shawnboburg and @jacobbogage have been played by the same federal agents on the audio ‘coercing,’ ‘scaring’ the whistleblower to water down allegations. As reporters, they are REQUIRED to include Richard’s denial. REQUIRED pic.twitter.com/8Rj5yWSljz
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 11, 2020
O’Keefe published an edited audio file of Hopkins’ interview with postal service investigators. Hopkins told O’Keefe that he thought investigators were trying to coerce him into changing his initial story.
A spokesperson for the inspector general’s office declined to comment.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Richard Hopkins” by Project Veritas.
Editors’ note: Neil McCabe, The Tennessee Star and Star News Network National Correspondent, also serves as a contract communications manager for Project Veritas.