MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Attorney General says that a group described as a private security company run by veterans has agreed not to recruit former special forces to “guard polling places” in Minnesota on Election Day.
Following reports that the group Atlas Aegis was seeking a “large contingent” of recruits “to make sure that the Antifas don’t try to destroy the election sites,” Ellison says his office launched an investigation into the claims.
After the reports broke, WCCO uncovered Facebook posts credited to the account Anthony Caudle, listed on the company’s website as the chairman and co-founder of Atlas Aegis, offering payment of $700 per day — along with $210 per diem — to staff Minnesota. The post says, “We are anticipating the need will last well beyond the elections with 15 to 30 days of work for qualified applicants.”
Secretary of State Steve Simon was quick to say, “Private security or other related individuals or groups are not are not allowed inside polling places, only one ‘challenger’ per major political party is allowed in each polling place, and no one else other than a voter or an administrator is allowed within one hundred feet of the entrance of a polling place.”
On Friday, Ellison said that his office reached a settlement in the form of an assurance of discontinuance with Atlas Aegis, in which they admitted that they were incorrect in their statements to the Washington Post, and that they did not intend to intimidate, coerce, or threaten Minnesota voters.
They admitted that they sought security officers to work at the private property of clients around Election Day, not at or near polling places.
“Minnesotans should expect that our elections will run as safely, smoothly, and securely as they always have. One of the reasons is that my office and our partners are actively enforcing our laws against threatening, frightening, or intimidating voters. I’m holding Atlas Aegis to account for their misstatements about recruiting security for polling places in Minnesota that potentially frightened Minnesota voters. They won’t be doing it again and will not be anywhere in Minnesota before, during, or after Election Day,” Ellison said. “Minnesota and federal law are clear: it is strictly illegal to intimidate or interfere with voters. I want to make to make it crystal clear to anyone who is even thinking about intimidating voters that I will not hesitate to enforce the laws against it to the fullest extent.”
Atlas Aegis agreed not to provide any protective agent services in Minnesota from now until January 1, 2022. Violations of the settlement would result in a $50,000 penalty.