The Pennsylvania postal whistleblower has been taken off the job without pay after alleging ballot-tampering at the Erie Post Office.
Mail carrier Richard Hopkins was informed that he had been placed on “off-duty/non-pay status effective November 10, 2020,” and that his actions “may have placed employees and yourself as well as the reputation of the US Postal Service in harm’s way,” according to a letter posted on social media by Project Veritas.
“You are to remain off work until the completion of the OIG and internal investigation,” said the Tuesday letter from U.S. Postal Service customer service manager Stephanie Hetrick.
Mr. Hopkins told Project Veritas last week that he heard his supervisors talking about backdating ballots received after the Nov. 3 deadline, and later signed an affidavit that was forwarded Friday by the Trump campaign to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.
The House Oversight Committee said Tuesday that Mr. Hopkins had executed another affidavit recanting his allegations, but he said afterward he was pressured into signing the document by investigators with the USPS Office of Inspector General.
“They were grilling the hell out of me,” Mr. Hopkins said in a Project Veritas video posted Tuesday. “I’m kind of pissed. I feel like I just got played.”
In a second video, he said, “I am here to say that I did not recant my statements. That did not happen. That is not what happened.”
Project Veritas President James O’Keefe accused the USPS of retaliating against the whistleblower.
Asked for comment, the USPS said in an email that the agency “became aware of these allegations on Friday, November 6.”
“They were immediately referred to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Office of Inspector General, and the matter remains under investigation,” the USPS said.
Project Veritas said Mr. Hopkins wore a wire during the interview with federal investigators, releasing an audio snippet in which one agent said that he would deliberately put Mr. Hopkins under stress “to make your mind a little bit clearer.”
Agapi Doulaveris, OIG public-information officer, said in an email, “The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General does not comment on ongoing matters.”
Mr. O’Keefe also said that GoFundMe removed a fundraising page created by Mr. Hopkins “in anticipation of losing his job.” The Washington Times has reached out to GoFundMe for comment.