Trump Falsely Accuses Ilhan Omar Of Criminal Activity In Ballot Harvesting Campaign
Donald Trump, in the hours after tax documents were released purporting to show that he claimed losses in ten of the last 15 years, tweeted to accuse Representative Ilhan Omar of a crime. However, the investigation by a discredited organization only shows legal activity. Spoiler: collecting ballots to turn in en masse is not illegal in Minnesota.
Project Veritas is a right-wing activist group that attempts to use “sting” operations to catch entities like Planned Parenthood, teachers’ unions, and liberal politicians or activists in immoral or illegal behavior. They’ve been caught deceptively editing video, and as The Intercept reported in 2018, have been caught in illegal activity in the pursuit of their videos.
Just after midnight the morning after the New York Times released information on Donald Trump’s tax returns, the president tweeted, sharing a Breitbart article about Project Veritas’ latest “investigation.” The Breitbart story describes a video of Omar’s campaign “harvesting” ballots in Minnesota, and quotes Project Verita legal officer Jared Edge as saying that ballot harvesters could face prison time and fines.
Trump shared this, adding, “This is totally illegal. Hope that the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota has this, and other of her many misdeeds, under serious review??? If not, why not???” He did not clarify what other ‘misdeeds’ he is alleging.
This is totally illegal. 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! https://t.co/yete31P680
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 28, 2020
However, ballot harvesting is not illegal in Minnesota. As Fox News reported in August, Republicans fought to block the practice, and courts struck down the effort, saying it was politically motivated.
The laws cited in the Breitbart article refer not to collecting ballots, but to paying voters, or threatening or coercing them, and to voting more than once. As Newsweek reports, the video doesn’t show anything like that. An anonymous person has alleged that voters were paid during the primary, but nothing has been substantiated and no evidence has been offered to that effect.