The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating claims by right-wing activist group Project Veritas that individuals tied to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., engaged in illegal ballot harvesting before the election.
“We are in the process of looking into the validity of those statements,” a department statement read on Monday. “No further information is available at this time on this.”
Project Veritas’ latest video lit up social media as it came just weeks before a presidential election that is expected to see a surge in absentee or mail-in voting. In Minnesota, the issue has come under judicial scrutiny as Republicans and Democrats battled over a measure that would limit the number of ballots a third party could hold for others.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the state’s Supreme Court recently allowed voting to proceed without a three-person limit on the number of ballots any one individual can collect.
President Trump has already called on the Justice Department to investigate the claims, which include allegations of a cash-for-ballot scheme.
“This is totally illegal,” Trump said Sunday, linking to an article on the issue. “Hope that the U. S. Attorney in Minnesota has this, and other of her many misdeeds, under serious review??? If not, why not??? We will win Minnesota because of her, and law enforcement. Saved Minneapolis & Iron O Range!”
Omar responded on Monday by mocking Trump over a New York Times report detaiing how, in 2016, he paid $750 in income taxes.
Project Veritas, a controversial group that has produced a number of misleading videos, claims that a local community leader, Omar Jarmal, blew the whistle on the Minnesota congresswoman’s alleged corruption.
“It’s an open secret,” he reportedly said. “she [Omar] will do anything that she can do to get elected and she has hundreds of people on the streets doing that.”
The investigation purports to show a ballot harvester claiming that he received money to obtain ballots. It also highlights an alleged harvester who boasts about the number of ballots he’s collected for a local official.
PV also claims to have spoken with a former campaign worker who indicated that Omar’s team paid voters for ballots.
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According to Newsweek, Omar’s senior communications director, Jeremy Slevin, blasted the investigation as an attempt to delegitimize the election.
“The amount of truth to this story is equal to the amount Donald Trump paid in taxes of ten out of the last fifteen years: zero. And amplifying a coordinated right-wing campaign to delegitimize a free and fair election this fall undermines our democracy,” he said.
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