Politics

Waters Asks Justice to Investigate Forged Letter Opponent Tweeted

Fake letter alleged that Waters wants ‘more terrorists’ in district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has asked the Department of Justice to investigate a forged letter tweeted out by one of her GOP opponents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is asking the Justice Department to investigate the source of the letter posted to Twitter by her top GOP competitor that falsely alleges she wants to resettle “up to 41k” refugees in her California district.

Omar Navarro, the Republican candidate being backed by many far-right donors, tweeted out the document, a forgery, on Monday with an attached caption.

“According to this document, Maxine Waters wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District,” Navarro tweeted. “As Congressman of CA’s 43rd District, I will oppose such policies.”

The tweet has been re-tweeted more than 700 times.

But the letter, dated in June, is fake, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors (refugees is misspelled “refuges,” for instance). It also cites committees and subcommittees Waters does not serve on and includes a district office address that has not been used for nearly a decade.

Navarro told the L.A. Times that someone he didn’t know sent the letter to his campaign via Facebook — which apparently he deemed was a reliable enough source to pump the letter out on social media.

“I don’t know if it’s real or not, so I put it out there,” Navarro said. “It doesn’t say that I know. It’s ‘according to this document’ … what, am I supposed to send it to her and get an email back from Maxine?”

Waters lodged a complaint with the House general counsel, which forwarded it to Central California’s U.S. Attorney and the fraud section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.

Waters has not been in touch with the woman to whom the letter is addressed, Teri Williams, about any sort of resettlement program, the congresswoman says in the complaint.

Impersonating Waters, a federal official, and copying her official seal are federal crimes.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.