AUSTIN, TX — An investigation by Project Veritas whose reporters went undercover with hidden cameras to expose an alleged ballot harvesting scheme in San Antonio has resulted in an arrest, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday morning.
Rachel Rodriguez, who was featured in the PV videos, was arrested for election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail, and unlawfully possessing an official ballot, the TAG said.
Each charge is a felony under the Election Code of the Texas Statutes.
“The Election Fraud Division of the Office of the Attorney General reviewed dozens of hours of unedited, raw footage, which led to this arrest. In an uncharacteristic moment of honesty, Rodriguez acknowledged on video that what she was doing is illegal and that she could go to jail for it. If convicted, Rodriguez could face up to 20 years in prison,” the TAG said.
In a video published by Project Veritas, a disguised journalist followed an activist and vote harvester around San Antonio. The activist, Rodriguez, was filmed giving a shawl as a gift to an elderly voter who changed her vote from Cornyn to Hegar. Democrat M.J. Hegar unsuccessfully challenged Republican Senator John Cornyn for one of the two US Senate seats from Texas.
She told the undercover reporter she was actually nominally working for GOP House candidate Mauro E. Garza, the owner of the San Antonio’s Pegasus Nightclub. She claimed Garza gave her $2,500 to purchase gifts to entice citizens, most of them seniors, to cast their ballots for Rodriguez’s clients.
She used some of that money to purchase an inventory of shawls, rosaries, diabetic socks, and wallets to gift mail-in ballot holders for voting for her candidates. She and an associate she named as Tommy Acosta also hold parties where invitees are asked to register, or later, to fill out their mail-in ballots for the duo’s candidates, she admitted.
“We keep hearing voter fraud is a myth and anyone who challenges that notion is simply creating hysteria,” said James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, when the video of his undercover investigation was released.
Wednesday morning, O’Keefe tweeted, “For those who say "nothing matters" this is for you. For those in the news media who says there is no such thing as voter fraud and what we do is nothing more than an attempt to "undermine elections," TAKE A SEAT!”
“Many continue to claim that there’s no such thing as election fraud. We’ve always known that such a claim is false and misleading, and today we have additional hard evidence. This is a victory for election integrity and a strong signal that anyone who attempts to defraud the people of Texas, deprive them of their vote, or undermine the integrity of elections will be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The shocking and blatantly illegal action documented by Project Veritas demonstrates a form of election fraud my office continually investigates and prosecutes. I am fiercely committed to ensuring the voting process is secure and fair throughout the state, and my office is prepared to assist any Texas county in combating this insidious, un-American form of fraud,” TAG Paxton stated.
The investigation into voter fraud in Texas, and this case, continues, the TAG stated.
"Individuals involved in or with knowledge of this organized vote harvesting scheme are encouraged to come forward and cooperate with the Office of the Attorney General,” the TAG stated.
In a related matter, Governor Greg Abbott praised a US Supreme Court ruling this week that rebuffed the Democratic Party’s push to force Texas to conduct universal mail-in balloting in future elections. Current Texas election law states that citizens over 65 years of age can vote by mail. “The Supreme Court rejected a Democratic bid to force universal vote-by-mail in Texas, leaving intact a state law. We won’t compromise election integrity in Texas with voting schemes that are subject to fraud. We will protect elections in Texas,” Abbott tweeted.
According to Bloomberg, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal over lawsuit titled Texas Democratic Party v. Abbott, leaving the current absentee voting law in Texas in place.
Universal mail-in ballots were blamed as being the instruments Democrats used in key battleground states to win the election. Even Bloomberg’s report admits the legal challenges to allow universal mail-in voting were “designed to govern the 2020 election and might have boosted Democrats’ prospects” in Texas.