BISMARCK — A Fargo lawmaker says he was hacked again after racist, sexist and fake news posts appeared on his Facebook page. His critics aren’t buying it.
State Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, said someone else must have accessed his account and made inflammatory posts on his page over the last two days. It’s the second time this year Kasper has stated that an outsider hacked his account and posted bigoted content.
One post shared on Kasper's account includes another account's comment that calls Democratic vice presidential pick and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris a “hoe” — slang for whore. Kasper said he doesn’t think this label is appropriate for Harris, and the post appears to have been deleted Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 18.
Another post says “white slaves were sold for centuries” and “all our ancestors took slaves, sold slaves, or were slaves … you’re not special.” Kasper said that is “a ridiculous statement,” and the post appears to have been deleted Tuesday afternoon.
A third post reads “I’m starting a #MeToo movement. I’m voting for President Donald J Trump!” Kasper said he is not planning on starting any movement, adding that he is familiar with the #MeToo movement, which is a public campaign to call out perpetrators of sexual abuse.
Facebook flagged two other posts on Kasper's page as “false information.” One of the posts included a fabricated quote attributed to well-known author C.S. Lewis, while another falsely claimed that Adolf Hitler defunded and eliminated the police upon taking power in Germany.
Kasper said none of the posts sounded familiar to him, but he offered no evidence that his account was hacked. The longtime legislator said there is one person affiliated with his campaign who has access to his account, but he added that he does not suspect they would make the posts. Kasper declined to give more details on the other person with his password.
“I am not technologically smart at all,” Kasper said. “I do not know how these things happen.”
Kasper added that the next step is to shut down his Facebook account if he can’t get to the bottom of the continued issues. By Tuesday night, Kasper's account no longer appeared on the social media website.
Both of Kasper’s Democratic-NPL challengers in Fargo’s District 46, Ben W. Hanson and Ben M. Hanson, said they found it implausible that Kasper’s Facebook account has been hacked twice this year.
“I really, really, really don’t think that somebody who has been in office for 20 years should have such an absolutely abysmal grasp of how to communicate with the public," said Ben W. Hanson, suggesting that Kasper should invest in social media security measures if he's having the problems that he claims.
Ben M. Hanson called the posts “reckless at the very least and irresponsible any way you look at it,” adding that behavior like what has surfaced on Kasper’s Facebook page is part of what motivated him to run for office in the first place.
When asked about those who accuse him of lying about the hacking incidents, Kasper said it’s impossible to prove a negative and it’s “sad” that people would try to tear down his character.
Kasper, who's looking to win a sixth term in November, said he's being “targeted” by his Democratic opponents during the campaign. He said he believes Democrats “will try anything they can to get rid of myself and other people like me.” He clarified that he is not accusing his opponents of hacking the account, but rather monitoring the account and trying to publicize what is posted from it.
House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, said he did not know about the posts until The Forum reached out to him, but added that he spoke with Kasper directly after learning of the issue. Pollert said he believes his colleague’s denials.
“I’ve talked to Rep. Kasper, and I’ve got no reason to not believe him,” Pollert said.
In a nearly identical episode in January, Kasper said he did not post anti-Islam posts that appeared on his Facebook page. He later apologized to anyone who was offended by the posts — including one that reads “The whole world has one common problem[:] Islam” — but he maintained someone else had made the posts from his account.
A Forum News Service investigation later found that Kasper’s page had hosted anti-Islam posts since at least 2016.
Kasper said that after the January incident he would change his password to ensure he would not be hacked again.
Readers can reach Forum News Service reporter Jeremy Turley at firstname.lastname@example.org and Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at email@example.com.