Comer, Hice Seek Answers from USPS Inspector General Regarding Investigation into Whistleblower Allegations

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) today wrote to United States Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb regarding the handling of a whistleblower complaint, which unearthed allegations of backdating mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day, and the unusual decision to disclose information about an ongoing investigation.

“Democrats turned a blind eye to Adam Schiff’s fake whistleblower during the impeachment scam but have quickly dismissed those pertaining to election integrity before all the facts are discovered. There is public confusion about these allegations and the Office of the Inspector General owes the American people and Congress an explanation for their actions surrounding Richard Hopkins’ USPS whistleblower complaint,” said Ranking Member Comer. “Our elections are of pivotal importance to our country, and a potential disruption of our elections must be thoroughly and accurately investigated and follow all proper procedures. American citizens deserve absolute transparency surrounding our electoral process and any potential flaws or issues in the system.”

The letter outlines a chronology of events in which the committee staff was briefed about an ongoing investigation into a whistleblower complaint from USPS employee Richard Hopkins. Briefings are rare during ongoing investigations. Content from the briefing was quickly distributed via Oversight Committee Democrats’ Twitter and then reported on by the press. This resulted in audio from the recordings being released, the content of which raises additional questions about the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation in this case. Comer and Hice call on the Inspector General to provide all documents regarding its investigation and an updated briefing.

The letter is available here and below.

November 13, 2020

Ms. Tammy L. Whitcomb
Inspector General
U.S. Postal Service
1735 N Lynn Street
Arlington, VA 22209

Dear Ms. Whitcomb:

On the morning of Tuesday, November 10, your staff requested a meeting with Oversight Committee staff to discuss an “important case update.” During a meeting that afternoon, we learned the case was regarding Richard Hopkins, a United States Postal Service (USPS) employee in Erie, Pennsylvania who blew the whistle on some potential malfeasance he overheard regarding mail-in balloting.

During the meeting, the Deputy Inspector General told our staff he thought it was “important to set the record straight” since a public statement from Hopkins had “gotten traction.” The Deputy Inspector General’s update was highly unusual, as he noted your office, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), “typically does not brief investigations as they progress.” Nevertheless, the Deputy Inspector General told Committee staff Hopkins had “essentially recanted everything he provided” and provided a subsequent sworn statement to OIG agents recanting his prior testimony.

Later that evening the Oversight Committee Democrats launched a Twitter thread that publicized facts learned during the Deputy Inspector General’s briefing. One of the Majority’s tweets noted “Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit.” The Washington Post, among other outlets, subsequently reported this information. This was a surprising tactic—undermining an apparent whistleblower before all the facts have been discovered—and in stark contrast to both the insistence of Democrats and the media last year that Adam Schiff’s whistleblower, who had no first-hand knowledge of any events, be trusted regarding the President’s impeachment. It seems Democrats and the media only give deference to whistleblowers whose allegations support their own narrative.

Nevertheless, shortly after the Democrats’ tweets, multiple videos surfaced containing what appear to be recordings of part of Hopkins’ interview with OIG agents. Portions of the recording show OIG agents pressuring Hopkins into clarifying his statement by reviewing his recollection of events he witnessed. In Hopkins’ new statement, as documented in the recording and apparently amended with the assistance of the OIG agents, he did not witness any explicitly illicit activities—a story more favorable to Democrats and the news media’s broad dismissal of the public’s valid concerns about the integrity of mass mail-in voting.

As a result, we need to obtain a fuller understanding of your current investigation. Therefore, please provide all notes, materials, emails, and other source documents regarding your investigation thus far to the Committee no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 16, 2020. This includes any and all recordings of interviews with Hopkins, the postmaster, and others during the course of the investigation.

In addition, please provide an updated briefing to the Committee staff regarding your investigation no later than Thursday, November 19, 2020. Please contact my staff at (202) 225-5074 to schedule this briefing.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

James Comer, Ranking Member, House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Jody Hice, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Government Operations

cc:       The Honorable Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman


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