On November 15 2020, a blog post titled “Biden Campaign Director Arrested For Electoral Fraud” began circulating on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit:
— Zontar (@Zontar_Dow) November 15, 2020
A widely-shared source for the claim was a November 15 2020 no-byline article on what appeared to be a fly-by-night website called ThePointNews.uk bearing the same headline. It began:
The Democrat Director of Texas state political strategy for the Joe Biden Presidential campaign has been arrested for electoral fraud.
Democratic Party operative Dallas Jones was formally accused of helping to run an illegal ballot harvesting operation in the state of Texas on behalf of the Joe Biden campaign during this contested Presidential election.
According to the National File, two investigators, including a former FBI agent and former police officer, testified under oath that they have Democratic Party internal documentation, as well as video evidence and witnesses, for their investigation.
That site referenced but did not link to “the National File,” a disinformation site which mentioned Jones’ name on November 2 2020 (but did not say he had been arrested):
Former Houston City Councilman and poll watcher Andrew C. Burks, a lifelong Democrat, came forward to private investigators to express his belief that the long-running Democrat voter fraud operation in Harris County, Texas is still in operation in the 2020 election, as sworn affidavits and photographic evidence has shown. NATIONAL FILE has obtained video of Burks’ interview on the heels of news that the Joe Biden campaign’s recent Texas political director Dallas Jones was interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after being implicated in sworn affidavits regarding the scheme.
Of National File, Media Bias/Fact Check said:
Overall, we rate National File an extreme right Tin-Foil Hat Conspiracy website based on the promotion of unproven/debunked claims and a Strong Pseudoscience purveyor based on using junk science to support claims.
Founded in 2019, National File is a conspiracy and pseudoscience website that reports from a conservative perspective. According to their about page: “National File is a bold new media project focused on hard news regarding cultural movements, political issues, the tech industry, and other topics pertaining to the New Right. Our team includes distinguished journalists with previous experience at Breitbart, The Daily Caller, Free Beacon, The Gateway Pundit, GameRanx, One Angry Gamer, and Big League Politics. All articles published by National File are true and factual.” (not true see below)
A second variation on this story was published to thepn.org, another site apparently linked to ThePointNews.uk; this one was headlined, “Biden Campaign Director Arrested For Electoral Fraud, dated November 15 2020, and it reiterated the claims of the other story without adding an iota of additional evidence:
The Democrat Director of Texas state political strategy for the Joe Biden Presidential campaign has been arrested for electoral fraud. Democratic Party operative Dallas Jones was formally accused of helping to run an illegal ballot harvesting operation in the state of Texas on behalf of the Joe Biden campaign during this contested Presidential election.
The only credible mention of Dallas Jones in connection with Biden’s campaign in Texas was a September 14 2020 article in the Texas Tribune, which reported:
The Democratic nominee’s latest hires, shared first with The Texas Tribune, include several experienced Democratic operatives from the state. They include Dallas Jones, a Houston political consultant who will serve as Biden’s Texas political director, and Jackie Uresti and Jerry Philips, who will each serve as political advisers to the campaign in Texas. Uresti was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 state director, while Philips brings deep experience around Texas House politics and previously was executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.
In tweets with two images and on the blog post, the image of Jones was lifted from his own website, on a page titled “2011 Houston 40 Under 40 Honorees.”
According to an undated post from StreetLoc.com, which described itself as “Facebook for Trump fans,” Jones had not been arrested. Moreover, the image in circulating was, according to that site, in actuality Cuba Gooding, Jr.:
French media are using a picture of Cuba Gooding Jr, to claim Dallas Jones has been arrested. He has not been arrested.
On June 13th, 2019, Gooding surrendered to New York City police. Ahead of the arrest, he had stated that he had hard evidence proving his innocence. That day, NBC News published a video of his surrender.
On November 15 and 16 2020, posts from brand new websites claimed Dallas Jones had been arrested, in posts titled “Biden campaign director Dallas Jones arrested for Ballot Harvesting.” Circulating photographs showed not Dallas Jones in 2020, but Cuba Gooding Jr. in 2019. The viral post originated from a September 2020 National File post, which did not allege Jones had been arrested. Not only was there no evidence Dallas Jones had been arrested for any election-related offense in 2020, the falsely-labeled images further suggested that the claim was completely fabricated for clicks, revenue, and to further sow doubts around the American democratic process.