President Trump has called for an investigation following the release of a Project Veritas report that claims to have exposed a cash-for-ballots operation connected to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
A 17-minute video released by the conservative investigative undercover news organization includes testimonials from purported whistleblowers and Minneapolis residents, who detail how ballots are allegedly illegally collected from elderly Somali immigrants.
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It also shows an operative, Liban Mohamed, bragging about collecting hundreds of ballots and claims that in some cases, operatives pay cash in exchange for votes.
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Breitbart reports: The video also includes testimony from a whistleblower, Omar Jamal, who called Rep. Omar’s alleged ballot harvesting an “open secret” and also discussed an alleged cash-for-votes scheme organized by staffers of Rep. Omar.
“She [Ilhan Omar] will do anything that she can do to get elected and she [Ilhan Omar] has hundreds of people on the streets doing that,” said Jamal.
James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, said, “Ballot harvesting is real, and it has become a big business. Our investigation into this ballot harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities — and have turned the sacred ballot box into a commodities trading desk.”
O’Keefe said, “We are showing Americans what is really going on in one of our great cities — but, it is not me saying — we have the operatives on tape saying it all themselves.”
Project Veritas said its investigation found three locations inside Ward 6, a ballot harvesting triangle, where the scheme operates: The Riverside Plaza apartments, the senior citizen community at Horn Towers, and the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services office at 980 E. Hennepin Ave., which also functions as a voting location and ballot drop-off site.
Jared Edge, the chief legal officer for Project Veritas, said that Mohamed and other ballot harvesters could face heavy penalties for their alleged violations of the law.
“The federal laws, 18 USC §597 and 52 USC §10307(c), are quite clear,” he said. “In the case of 18 USC §597, it is punishable by up to two years in prison and in the case of 52 USC §10307 it’s punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.”
The Minnesota statute 211B.13(1) prohibits paying a person or receiving money to register to vote or to vote, he said. “This is a state felony punishable by more than one-year imprisonment.”
Beyond paying voters, there are also state and federal laws regarding intimidation of voters, he said.
“The federal laws 52 USC §20511, 18 USC §594, and 52 USC §10307(b) and the Minnesota statue 211B.07 prohibit anyone from using undue influence, threats, intimidation, or fraud to influence a person’s vote or to influence them to vote at all,” he said.
“It is also a violation of federal law for anyone who votes for others illegally,” he said.
“The punishment under 52 USC §10307(e) also goes up to five years’ incarceration and a $10,000 fine,” he said.
“In addition to those statutes, Minnesota has another statute, 211B.11(3), which makes it a misdemeanor to induce or persuade a voter to vote for or against a candidate while transporting the voter to the polls,” he said.