Rep. Omar Calls Ballot Harvesting Allegations ‘Misinformation’

Rep. Omar Calls Ballot Harvesting Allegations ‘Misinformation’
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks to reporters in Minneapolis, Minn., on Aug. 11, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) says allegations of ballot harvesting in her congressional district are misinformation, even as one of the men said to be involved indicated he was illegally bundling ballots.

Minneapolis police detectives opened an investigation last month after investigative journalism nonprofit Project Veritas released undercover and social media video that appeared to show at least some illegal activity.

The videos focused on voting in Minneapolis, which is part of Omar’s district, and implicated Liban Osman, the brother of Jamal Osman, who won a race for the City Council seat representing Ward 6 in August.

Snapchat videos posted by Liban Osman showed him bragging about collecting hundreds of ballots in early July.

“You can see my car is full. All these are absentee ballots,” he said while driving, as the camera showed open ballot envelopes on his dashboard.

“All these are for Jamal Osman,” he added.

Another video showed Osman holding approximately 20 ballots, with the caption, “Two in the morning still working and collecting absentee ballots.”

State law prohibits a “designated agent” from collecting more than three ballots per election. The law was enjoined by a federal judge in late July, but the videos were recorded before then, according to Project Veritas.

A Jamal Osman aide directed The Epoch Times to a statement Osman made last month.

“Throughout my campaign, I let my staff, volunteers and supporters know my values including the type of race I wanted to run. I stated publicly the importance to run a positive and ethical campaign. I condemn behavior that contradicts these values,” he said at the time.

“That is why I also condemn the continued attacks on the integrity of the East-African immigrant community in Minneapolis. The community is proud to be here, passionate about exercising their constitutional right to vote and excited to elect the next President of the United States.”

Osman told television station KMSP this week that he was collecting mail-in ballots from voters in July. He described the people from whom he collected them as sick and elderly. He said he didn’t fill out ballots or alter them in any way.
Liban Osman, not pictured, brags about collecting mail-in ballots, in a Snapchat video originally recorded and published in July 2020. (Project Veritas)
Liban Osman, not pictured, brags about collecting mail-in ballots, in a Snapchat video originally recorded and published in July 2020. (Project Veritas)

Osman, who said the videos were authentic, did brag about having 300 ballots in his car. But, he said, the actual number was closer to 20.

Osman also said he was offered $10,000 by Omar Jamal, a Somali community activist who was Project Veritas’s main partner in the expose, to make claims about Rep. Omar, but refused. Through Project Veritas, Jamal denied the allegation. The Epoch Times has been unable to reach Jamal.

Omar shared a link to the article on Twitter and wrote, “So you’re saying a coordinated misinformation campaign by a known fraud was actually ... a fraud?!”

She and her spokesman, Jeremy Slevin, have said the allegations are motivated by racism.

Others identified in the alleged voter fraud scheme claimed Rep. Omar was involved. For instance one of them, Osman Ali Dahquane, told Jamal that Omar’s campaign was paying money for votes. In another case, an anonymous person described as a former political worker accused Ali Isse, Omar’s campaign chair, of coordinating the alleged scheme. And in a third example, an exchange of money for a ballot was done by a ballot harvester linked to Omar, according to James O'Keefe, the CEO of Project Veritas.

O'Keefe and Project Veritas in public statements repeatedly highlighted how Omar was allegedly connected to voter fraud. The allegations drew nationwide attention, and a call from Lacy Johnson, the Republican nominee for the seat Omar currently holds, for Omar to resign.
O'Keefe took issue with the KMSP story, calling it a hit piece. The claim of a bribe was false, he said in a video statement, and an allegation that the person who received money for the ballot was related to Jamal was also untrue, he said.

He also said the broadcaster left out statements from his group.

“Fox9 ignored our statements to them about their hit piece on the First Amendment,” O'Keefe said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

KMSP was sent a letter requesting revisions to the story, a Project Veritas spokesman told The Epoch Times. Project Veritas is considering a lawsuit if the changes are not made.

KMSP didn’t immediately return a voicemail from The Epoch Times seeking comment.