- Right-wing activist Joe Oltmann claimed to be working with election clerks to “access” voting machines.
- In Mesa County, Colorado, one clerk is accused of granting unauthorized access to a Dominion machine.
- Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said she’s “confident” the state’s elections are secure.
Two days after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, a pro-Trump activist from Colorado was not giving up on the hunt for evidence that there was a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election. And he was going to prove it, he said, with a vast right-wing conspiracy of his own.
In an email to Sidney Powell – a lawyer who helped the Trump campaign try to overturn the former president’s November loss, work for which she has since been legally sanctioned – Joe Oltmann, a businessman who founded the activist group FEC United, wrote that it would be a “good idea to connect” to further discuss his claims about Eric Coomer, an employee at Dominion Voting Systems.
At a November press conference alongside Rudy Giuliani, Powell said Coomer had been “recorded in a conversation with antifa members saying that he had the election rigged for Mr. Biden.”
“A vicious, vicious man,” Giuliani added.
Those comments were based on the testimony of Oltmann, who said that in September 2020 he had managed to infiltrate an “antifa” conference call with Coomer.
Antifa is not an organization, however – it is a term for anti-fascist activists who embrace confrontational and sometimes violent tactics at street protests – nor was there any recording of such a conversation. Powell, Giuliani, and Oltmann have all been sued for defamation over the claim.
But in his January 22 email to Powell, released as part of that defamation lawsuit, Oltmann said he was working on another project. “You also need to be aware of what we are doing in Colorado in gaining access to the Dominion systems under the radar,” he wrote. “We have several county clerks cooperating. Need to settle down the chaos so you can get a grasp on all of the information.”
That assertion has raised eyebrows in the wake of one Colorado county clerk appearing to do just that. Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is currently under investigation for allegedly granting unauthorized access to a Dominion voting machine. Source code from the machine was posted online by a QAnon conspiracy theorist and Peters herself traveled to an election-conspiracy conference hosted by MyPillow founder Mike Lindell where she boasted of having uncovered fraud in a state that President Biden won by a 13.5% margin.
The Colorado Times Recorder was the first to connect Oltmann’s purported conspiracy with Peters. But Oltmann denied she was one of the clerks he was referencing. “I will come for you and the rest of your shill Antifa terrorists,” he wrote in an email to the outlet.
If Oltmann actually collaborated with anyone, he’s not saying. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, meanwhile, told Insider her office remains “confident” the state’s voting machines are secure.
“Should there be an internal security breach like the one that occurred in Mesa County, Colorado has layers of preventative and detection security measures in place,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to be concerned about. There is already a demonstrated interest on the part of some elections officials to use their office to perpetuate unfounded claims about fraud. And there is an effort underway to replace those who won’t.
“Insider threats are likely to spread as the Big Lie grows,” Griswold said, “and states across the country should immediately take action to ensure they have sufficient security.”
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