Three of Clubs: Election integrity Network

“RNC to add new lawyers focusing on claims of election fraud – including one key figure from 2020 challenges”

CNN:

The Republican National Committee, now under the control of former President Donald Trump and his campaign, is bringing on a slate of new lawyers both internally and externally who will focus intensely on election fraud, an issue Trump has remained fixated on.

The lawyers “will initiate battle on election integrity from an offensive instead of defensive posture,” Chris LaCivita, Trump’s co-campaign manager and newly instated RNC Chief of Staff, told CNN.

LaCivita will bring on Charlie Spies, an experienced GOP lawyer, to take over as chief counsel at the RNC.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, a former correspondent at the Trump-aligned One America News Network, will join as senior counsel for election integrity. Bobb was very active in promoting Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and authored a book called “Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024.”

“I’m honored to join the RNC and thrilled the new leadership is focused on election integrity. I look forward to working to secure our elections and restore confidence in the process,” Bobb said in a statement to CNN.

Bobb was directly involved in two separate Trump controversies that led to the former president’s federal indictments in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, as well as the 2020 election subversion case. She has not been accused of any crimes.

In June 2022, while federal authorities were still trying to recover classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Bobb signed a sworn affidavit on Trump’s behalf, inaccurately telling the Justice Department that there weren’t any classified files left at the club. Special counsel Jack Smith later charged Trump with lying to the FBI and accused Trump of illegally causing Bobb to submit this false declaration even though he knew it was untrue.

She also played a key role in the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme after he lost the 2020 election, working closely with Trump advisers to organize the plan in seven battleground states. The scheme formed the basis of parts of Smith’s election subversion indictment against the former president, which says Trump and his allies created “fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding” in Congress on January 6, 2021, and “disenfranchise millions of voters.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Bobb was also a correspondent during the 2020 election for the fringe pro-Trump network OAN, where she promoted false claims that the election was rigged. The voting technology company Dominion sued Bobb and OAN for defamation in 2021. Some of her on-air segments were also referenced in a separate defamation case against OAN filed by Smartmatic, another aggrieved voting company. OAN and Bobb have denied wrongdoing in these civil cases.

[Boldface added]

 

 

What leaked audio tells us about Trump-linked “election integrity” efforts

AUGUST 2, 2023

HEARD ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

Tom Dreisbach

7-Minute Listen

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115211891/what-leaked-audio-tells-us-about-trump-linked-election-integrity-efforts


TRANSCRIPT

Attorney Cleta Mitchell is a senior legal fellow with the nonprofit Conservative Partnership Institute in Washington, D.C. The group has hosted “Election Integrity” summits in key states around the country, which have featured speakers from the Republican National Committee.

Matt Rourke/AP

A prominent conservative attorney, who worked with former President Donald Trump on efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has been leading “Election Integrity” summits in swing states across the country, raising concerns about how false claims about a “stolen” election may affect future contests.

Leaked audio from those summits, which has been shared with NPR and other news outlets, provides an inside view of those efforts, which have been backed by key figures from Trump’s orbit and funding from Trump’s political operation. Officials from the Republican National Committee have also attended these events.

The attorney and guiding force behind these summits is named Cleta Mitchell. She has come under intense scrutiny ever since she took part in a Jan. 2, 2021 call to Georgia election officials, in which Trump pressured those officials to reverse the outcome.

“I only need 11,000 votes — fellas, I need 11,000 votes,” Trump said on the call. “Give me a break. You know we have that in spades already.”

During the call, Mitchell floated multiple allegations of voter fraud, which Georgia’s secretary of state — himself a conservative Republican — said his office had investigated and debunked.

Soon after audio of the call was released, Mitchell resigned under pressure from her position as partner with the law firm Foley & Lardner, which expressed concern with her participation on the call.

The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed Mitchell. In addition to her participation on the call with Georgia election officials, the committee also released an email indicating that two days after the 2020 election, Mitchell suggested that state legislators could choose which electors to send to the Electoral College. That strategy could have allowed pro-Trump electors to essentially disregard their states’ election results.

The district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., also secured a subpoena for Mitchell to testify as part of a separate criminal investigation into Trump’s election efforts.

As those investigations have pressed forward, Mitchell has been working for a conservative nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., called the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), where “now I get to work on election integrity every single day,” she recently said. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is a senior partner at CPI, and Trump’s Save America political action committee gave $1 million to CPI last summer. Under the umbrella of CPI, Mitchell runs the “Election Integrity Network.”

With the support of those connections and funding, CPI has hosted “Election Integrity Summits” in several states this year, including Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Pennsylvania. “We’re taking back our election systems,” Mitchell told former Trump adviser Steve Bannon earlier this year, with the help of “an election integrity movement that is populated and driven by people who supported President Trump and who saw their votes literally cast aside.”

Documented, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group that reports on the influence of corporations and wealthy people in politics, obtained leaked recordings from multiple events. They shared hours of tape from a March 31, 2022 summit just outside of Harrisburg, Pa., with NPR and other news outlets.

On its face, neither the mobilization of poll watchers nor increased scrutiny of election officials is necessarily concerning or even unusual. Brendan Fischer, the deputy executive director of Documented, says the difference with these events is their reliance on false and debunked information about the 2020 election.

“The concern is that the conspiracy theorists who see fraud around every corner are going to disrupt voting and the administration of elections,” said Fischer.

Election officials have described receiving a barrage of threats since the 2020 election. On Monday, the Department of Justice announced that election officials and workers had reported receiving about a thousand “hostile or harassing” contacts. More than 100 of those contacts, the department said, “met the threshold for a federal criminal investigation.”

Mitchell, for her part, has stressed the importance of volunteers remaining polite. “Never lose your temper or raise your voice,” the group’s “Citizen’s Guide” states.

CPI did not respond to multiple requests for comment about their events.

Here are four takeaways from the recordings:

An official from the Republican National Committee praised Mitchell and her efforts

Though Mitchell has attracted intense scrutiny for her fraud claims about the 2020 election, an RNC official praised Mitchell and expressed a degree of deference to her work.

Joshua Findlay, the RNC’s national director for election integrity, opened his remarks by thanking Mitchell.

“I am very grateful, first of all, that you’re putting these on,” said Findlay. “And, second of all, that we’re invited. I flew overnight from meetings we had in Nevada to be here just for this.”

Findlay went on to suggest that the RNC would take its cues from Mitchell.

“Cleta Mitchell, she’s like the best election and election law expert out here. We’re not going to tell her what to do,” Findlay said. “But hopefully we can provide some infrastructure and some muscle and that’s what we want to do.”

Andrea Raffle, the RNC’s director of election integrity for the state of Pennsylvania, also spoke at the event, and discussed ways for people to get involved in election offices. One goal of that effort, Findlay and Raffle explained, was to connect both volunteer and paid election workers with the Republican party’s “war room,” which could help address problems at the polls and inform the party’s potential legal challenges.

“The RNC works with other groups who have an interest in promoting election integrity but the party’s efforts are independent from any outside organization,” said Emma Vaughn, a spokesperson for the RNC. “As such, the RNC is not a part of any formal coalition with outside groups.”

Vaughn said that in places where the RNC had already engaged in “election integrity” efforts, “elections have run smoothly, and turnout has increased.”

Participants are under scrutiny from investigators

Michael Roman, who served as director of election day operations for the Trump 2020 campaign, also took part in the summit.

About a month prior, Roman was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee in Congress.

“The Select Committee is in possession of communications reflecting your involvement in a coordinated strategy to contact Republican members of state legislatures in certain states that former President Trump had lost and urge them to ‘reclaim’ their authority by sending an alternate slate of electors that would support former President Trump,” said committee chair Bennie Thompson in a letter to Roman regarding the subpoena. “It appears that you helped direct the Trump campaign staffers participating in this effort.”

Roman did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.

According to the Washington Post, a grand jury in Washington has also subpoenaed records of communications between Arizona officials and Findlay, as well as several other Trump campaign staffers, as part of a Department of Justice investigation.

There is no indication Findlay himself is under investigation.

A focus on ‘blue’ areas

Throughout the event, several presenters suggested that it was especially important to closely monitor areas with large numbers of Democrats.

Doug McLinko, a county commissioner for Bradford County, Pa., said efforts to “clean up” voter rolls should be focused on Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, “Because that’s the counties that are a problem. Yeah, we can go to the rural counties and we can clean up voter rolls. We need to do that. But let’s be honest where it’s at — let’s be honest where the steal was at.”

At another point, a member of the audience from Philadelphia, who did not identify himself by name, said, “in certain sections of the city which are very dangerous because Black Lives Matter is there — do we have and will we find people of color who are conservative number one and willing to work?”

Organizers for the event did not directly address the question, but said they were working on finding more volunteers for election monitoring positions in Philadelphia.

INVESTIGATIONS

Election deniers have taken their fraud theories on tour — to nearly every state

The comments about more racially diverse and predominantly Democratic areas were not limited to Pennsylvania.

The RNC’s Findlay described Harris County, Texas, which includes the city of Houston, in similar terms.

“That’s like the Philadelphia of Texas,” said Findlay. “It’s the county where we know all the problems are.”

“Our job is not to win,” said Christine Brim, a conservative activist from left-leaning Fairfax County, Va. “Our job is to lose less badly. And when you face that reality, when you’re the blue county that can ruin a statewide vote, that really focuses what you’re doing.”

Past interest in conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric

Toni Shuppe, the founder and CEO of Audit The Vote PA, was introduced at the summit as a leader of the state’s “election integrity” coalition. She told NPR she is now working with a large number of groups in the state on those efforts.

As Shuppe recounted in a video posted to Facebook, she was in Washington, D.C., and outside the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack. She said she did not witness any of the violence that day, and things were peaceful where she was.

Shuppe has written that her path to political activism began, in part, by watching a 10-part three-hour online video called “The Fall Of The Cabal.” The video promotes a wide variety of conspiracy theories, including some related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to theories known as Pizzagate and QAnon. The Anti-Defamation League has described QAnon as “a wide-reaching conspiracy theory popular among a range of right-wing extremists,” with “marked undertones of antisemitism and xenophobia.”

“I don’t know if any of the information in the video is true,” Shuppe told NPR in an email. “But what if it is? The video opened my eyes to be more analytical and to question all narratives. I feel the same way about 9/11. Question all narratives.”

In one startling scene from the video, the narrator claims that “worldwide, children are stolen and sold to elite pedophile rings,” which then “drink the childrens’ blood and they eat their flesh.”

NPR asked Shuppe if she believed that specific claim.

“I have no idea,” Shuppe responded. “Wish I knew. Great question though. Why don’t you do some digging to figure that out and report back?”

Another participant at the event has used incendiary rhetoric in the past.

Ned Jones, the deputy director of the Election Integrity Network at CPI, gave a presentation on ways to hold local election officials accountable, including by filing public records requests.

During the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Jones responded to a tweet about the breach of the Capitol building, “They don’t say a word when BLM/Antifa burn cities. It’s our turn! About time!”

He has also frequently tweeted about the possibility of a second “civil war.”

Responding to a tweet about street violence during post-election protests in Washington state in December 2020, Jones wrote, “The Civil War has started in Olympia, WA! Let’s roll Patriots!”

Jones did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.

 

Fueled by Falsehoods, a Michigan Group Is Ready to Challenge the Vote

In private meetings, activists, lawyers and G.O.P. officials laid out their strategy. “If there is a close election, it’s going to be up to us to fix it,” one said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/07/us/politics/michigan-elections-group.html

Nov 7, 2022

The coalition grew out of Ms. Mitchell’s Election Integrity Network, which has established groups doing similar work in states including Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia.

https://virginiainstitute.org/people/ned-jones/

https://virginiaproject.com › election-integrity

 

Election Integrity Program – Virginia Project

The elephant in the election integrity room is the approximately 1 million invalid entries on Virginia’s voter rolls. Virginia is locally administered in most

https://www.cpi.org/2022/01/virginia-week-election-integrity-network/

 

CPI’s Voter Suppression Efforts, Masquerading as the Election Integrity Network

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Conservative_Partnership_Institute

CPI’s Voter Suppression Network Holds Statewide Summits

Starting in February 2022, CPI’s Election Integrity Network organized and held statewide voter suppression summits in the states. CPI’s Election Integrity Network is chaired by voter suppression advocate and GOP attorney Cleta Mitchell.

Georgia

CPI held the Georgia Statewide Election Integrity Summit on February 18 & 19, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit featured a number of breakout sessions on elections and a “special” keynote from Mark Meadows, “What Happened in 2020 and What We Must Do to Protect Future Elections in Georgia.”[14]

Arizona

CPI held the Arizona Statewide Election Integrity Summit on March 11 & 12, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The summit featured a number of breakout sessions on elections and a “special” keynote from Mark Meadows, “What Happened in 2020 and What We Must Do to Protect Future Elections in Arizona.” The summit also held a “bonus session” on “Special Grassroots Training / Building the Citizens Campaign to Win the Fight for Voter ID in Arizona.”[15]

Sponsors of the Arizona event included: AMAC Action, America First Policy Institute, America Pack, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Election Transparency Initiative, EZAZ.org, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America, Public Interest Legal Foundation, Tea Party Patriots Action, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, and Voter Reference Foundation.

Florida

CPI held the Florida Statewide Election Integrity Summit on March 25-26, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. The summit featured a number of breakout sessions on elections and a “special” keynote from Sen. Jim DeMint and a speech from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The summit also held Florida specific sessions, “How Floridians Vote: Mail, Machines, and Role of the USPS – How to Be Citizen Watchdogs”, and “What We Must Do to Enhance Florida’s Election Code.”[16]

Sponsors of the Florida event included: AMAC Action, Citizens United Foundation, Defend Florida, Foundation for Government Accountability, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America, James Madison Institute, Tea Party Patriots Action, and Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

According to a report from AMAC Action, over 400 Floridians attended and other speakers included Cleta Mitchell, Florida state Rep. Cord Byrd, Chair of the Floria Election Commission Nick Primrose, Republican National Committee’s Josh Findlay, and Virginia Policy Institute’s Lynn Taylor.[17]

Pennsylvania

CPI held the Pennsylvania Statewide Election Integrity Summit on March 31, 2022 in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The summit featured a number of breakout sessions on elections, a sneak preview of “Rigged”: a “New Citizens United Documentary” and a speech by Kristen Eastlick from the Capital Research Center titled “The Real Kraken — How Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Manipulated the 2020 Election.” The summit also held a Pennsylvania specific session, “Understanding Absentee Voting, Recent Court Decisions about No Excuse Absentee Voting in PA, & the Role of US Post Office in Election Mail”[18]

Sponsors of the Pennsylvania event included: AMAC Action, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America, Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, Tea Party Patriots Action, and the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

Virginia

CPI scheduled a Virginia Statewide Election Integrity Summit for April 22-23, 2022 in Williamsburg, Virginia. The summit will feature a number of breakout sessions on elections, and a specific session on Virginia titled, “What Did the Virginia Legislature Do this Year? What Remains to Be Done?”[19] A special screening of “Rigged: The Zuckerberg-Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump”, the new documentary from Citizens United will be held. Speakers are not listed for this event.

Sponsors of the Pennsylvania event included: AMAC Action, Heritage Action for America, Middle Resolution, Tea Party Patriots Action, Virginia Fair Elections, and the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

Michigan

CPI scheduled a Michigan Statewide Election Integrity Summit for May 13-14, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. The summit will feature a number of breakout sessions on elections, and a specific session on Michigan titled, “Building the Michigan Election Integrity Infrastructure”.[20] A special screening of “Rigged: The Story of How Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Manipulated the 2020 Election”, the new documentary from Citizens United will be held. Speakers are not listed for this event.

Sponsors of the Michigan event included: AMAC Action, Heritage Action for America, Michigan Election Protection Team, Tea Party Patriots Action, and the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

Nevada

CPI’s Election Integrity Network hosted the Nevada Statewide Election Integrity Summit May 20-21, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The summit included a screening of “Rigged– The Story of How Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Manipulated the 2020 Election”, and panels titled “Coming together for Election Integrity”, “Building the Nevada Election Integrity Infrastructure”, “Election Inspector– Recruitment, Training and Deployment”, “Citizen’s Guide to Cleaning Voter Rolls” and “The Left’s Secret Plan to Spend Your Tax Dollars to Win 2022”.[21]

North Carolina

CPI’s Election Integrity Network hosted the North Carolina Statewide Election Integrity Summit June 10-11, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The summit featured special guest Lt. Governor Mark Robinson (R), a screening of “Rigged– The Story of How Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Manipulated the 2020 Election”, and panels on “Coming together for Election Integrity”, “Building the North Carolina Election Integrity Infrastructure”, and “The Left’s Secret Plan to Spend Your Tax Dollars to Win in 2022”.[22]

Wisconsin

CPI’s Election Integrity Network hosted the Wisconsin Statewide Election Integrity Summit June 24-25, 2022 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The summit included a speech from Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R), a screening of “Rigged– The Story of How Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg Manipulated the 2020 Election”, keynote speeches from former Wisocnsin justice Michael Gableman, Representative Janel Brandtjen, and Lt. Michael Luell, and panels on “The Left’s 2022 Plans: Billionaire Donors and Tax Dollars to Manipulate the Election System to Elect Democrats”, “Working Together to Fight the Left”, and “Zuckerbucks: Private Money Corrupting Elections”.[23]

“Forty years ago, Paul Weyrich, who helped establish the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups, admitted, “I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

— Jane Mayer