A Pennsylvania postal worker who changed his story alleging ballot tampering several times also had a GoFundMe campaign that was suspended after reports emerged that he had recanted his tampering claims under questioning by federal investigators.
More than $136,000 was raised from thousands of donors who believed the postal worker was doing his patriotic duty to take down the “evil” left.
Richard Hopkins, 32, a USPS worker in Erie, Pennsylvania, initially signed a sworn affidavit claiming a supervisor instructed postal workers to backdate ballots received after the Nov. 3 voting deadline.
Hopkins’ allegations were used in Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s letter to the Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation into widespread voter fraud as President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.
On Monday, Nov. 9, Hopkins recanted his original claims when he spoke to Agent Russell Strasser from the USPS Office of the Inspector General and Agent Charles ‘Chris’ Klein, a USPS Postal Inspector. Making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officers is considered a felony.
An audio recording of the two-hour conversation between Hopkins and the agents was uploaded to YouTube by Project Veritas on Nov. 11 as “proof” that Hopkins’ was coerced into recanting.
However, the recording told a different story.
In it, Hopkins says his allegations were based on “assumptions” he made after overhearing snippets of conversation and admitted that Project Veritas drafted the affidavit on his behalf.
That didn’t stop over 4,000 Trump supporters from happily supporting Hopkins’ GoFundMe campaign, Raw Story reported.
It’s unclear who began the page on Hopkins’ behalf. His plea for donations read, in part, “I made the difficult decision to risk everything in my life to come forward with this information of extreme wrongdoing by the Post Office. I am uncertain of what the future holds for me but I felt the public had a right to know what is really going on. Your donations are going to help me in the case I am wrongfully terminated from my job or I am forced into resigning due to ostrizization [sic] by my coworkers. It will help me get a new start in a place I feel safe and help me with child support until I am able to get settled and get a job.”
One woman who gave $50 wrote, “I donated because I know how evil the left is and im (sic) certain they will do everything in their power to ruin this man for doing whats (sic) right!”
Another added, “I am an American patriot who wholly supports this mans actions, I pray for his future and pray true Americans step in to help him through this. You’re a warrior and a hero!”
“I donated because Richard is behaving in a noble, courageous and righteous way. The Erie, Pennsylvania USPS is defrauding the 2020 election by backdating ballots which were mailed after the deadline of November 3, 2020,” another $300 donor said. “Those late ballots should be disqualified, but the fraudulent post mark of Nov. 3, 2020 on them will cause those late ballots to be counted. Counting late ballots is a criminal act. Richard is reporting the criminality he is witnessing.”
The campaign was suspended by GoFundMe on Nov. 10, the same Tuesday the Washing Post’s initial article on the recantation was published. Hopkins changed his story again that same day.
Some were pleased to know GoFundMe pulled the plug. One user provided a screenshot of the campaign showing donations of $5,000 by a single person.
In a Nov. 10 video also uploaded to YouTube, Hopkins recanted his recantation.
“My name is Richard Hopkins. I am the postal employee who came out and whistleblew on the Erie, PA postal service,” Hopkins said. “I am right at this very moment looking at an article written by Washington Post, says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering. I’m here to say that I did not recant my statements. That did not happen. That is not what happened.”
He also asked that “The Washington Post recant their wonderful, little article that they decided to throw out there.”
Trump retweeted Hopkins’ video and called him “a brave patriot.”
However, Erie Postmaster Rob Weisenbach rebutted Hopkins’ allegations in a statement he posted to his personal Facebook page.
“Good evening my friends,” Weisenbach wrote. “There has been awful things posted about the USPS and here is my statement. The allegations made against me and the Erie Post Office are 100% false made by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times.”
In the recording, Strasser and Klein repeatedly told Hopkins his participation was mandatory. When they asked Hopkins if he wanted to stick with his original story he responded, “At this point? No.”