I recently listed to this episode of the BBC’s “The Coming Storm” on the origins of QAnon and its connection to January 6. Many regular blog readers may have heard it already, but for those, who like me are not huge fans of in-depth stories about Trump, QAnon, and political conspiracies, I strongly recommend giving it a try. I found it hugely informative. The episode was recommended to me by trusted colleagues in the U.K. I decided to give it a try and particularly appreciated hearing two British journalists and their outsider take on the state of U.S. politics.
Category Archives: chicanery
DOJ Indictment of George Santos Alleges Campaign Finance Fraud, Conversion of Campaign Funds to Personal Use
Pretty blatant violations of the law if they can be proven. [The headline has been corrected.]
“We Just Want Someone Sane”
Frank Wilkinson in Bloomberg, in a piece with a Howitzer of a subheader:
Washington County, Pennsylvania, was never known as Crazytown. Then election deniers decided to run for local office.
“In Trump Case, Bragg Pursues a Common Charge With a Rarely Used Strategy”
The NYT works through the details of a falsifying business records charge and – despite the fact that there’s apparently no legal requirement to do so – the rarity of not making clear the underlying crime to convert the misdemeanor to a felony.
“Michigan commission finds ‘misconduct’ by pro-Trump attorneys in 2020 lawsuit”
Bridge Michigan with news on the state’s Attorney Grievance Commission, and its formal complaint against Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and others (including 3 Michigan attorneys).
“Democratic operative charged with NJ election fraud”
This one’s not the work of a criminal mastermind.
According to [AG] Platkin, James Devine allegedly emailed the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections about 1,948 fraudulent voter certifications in support of [a] petition for a spot on the ballot. Because of the ongoing COVID pandemic, the state allowed electronic signatures on the nominating papers.
A few days later, on April 9, 2021, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee challenged Devine’s paperwork by detailing issues with the voter certifications, including a certification that at least one voter was dead, Platkin said.
In addition, every voter certification was in the same font and signature style and one voter apparently included a number in his name, “Jose8,” Platkin said.
In addition, Platkin said, in almost every case, the same number of extra spaces were between the city name and “NJ” in the address line. The state Division of Elections found it suspicious and believed that it indicated a computer mail merge program had filled out the forms, the attorney general added.
(The candidate supported by the petitions was removed from the ballot.)
Arizona Supreme Court sanctions Kari Lake’s attorneys
Hot off the press: an order by the Arizona Supreme Court sanctioning Kari Lake’s attorneys for false factual statements to the court.
I believe this is at least the second sanctions order issued against Kurt Olsen related to false statements in Lake’s litigation over the 2022 election, after this scathing order from Arizona’s federal court.
“Election-denying clerk ousted in recall: ‘Make Adams Township Boring Again’”
Bridge Michigan has the unofficial results on yesterday’s recall election of a Michigan town clerk:
Voters in deeply conservative Adams Township on Tuesday night rejected elections clerk Stephanie Scott, ousting the Republican official who questioned the accuracy of her own voting machines in a dispute that prompted a state police investigation.
Unofficial results from Hillsdale County show Scott lost her recall election to independent challenger Suzy Roberts by a nearly 2-1 margin, with Roberts winning 406 votes to Scott’s 214.
Neither Scott nor Roberts immediately responded to Wednesday morning voicemails seeking comment on the election results.
But Gail McClanahan, a 75-year-old retiree who organized a petition drive to force the recall election, called the results a win for local voters frustrated by the two-year saga that began in 2021, when the state stripped Scott of her ability to administer elections.
“We’re just so happy that Adams Township believed us,” McClanahan told Bridge Michigan. “We said there’s no election fraud here. We’ve lived here all of our life.”
She added that Roberts won, in part, because of her call to “Make Adams Township Boring Again.”
“As 2024 Campaigns Begin, States Confront Threats to Election Workers”
And yet, there’s a lot more to be done. NCSL has more on a disturbing trend that should be of concern to every single one of its members.
And good for Kansas SOS Scott Schwab for speaking up here (and about drop boxes, and about grace periods for mail, etc.).
“Exclusive: Dominion Voting Systems tells its Fox News lawsuit story”
Axios with a bit of oral history.
“The first arrests from DeSantis’s election police take extensive toll”
The WaPo on a message communicated to Floridians: “Voting is dangerous.”
“Giuliani admits using ‘dirty trick’ to suppress Hispanic vote in mayoral race”
Now saying the quiet part loud and proud, apparently.
“Prosecutors in Jan. 6 Case Step up Inquiry Into Trump Fund-Raising”
As they investigate former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, federal prosecutors have also been drilling down on whether Mr. Trump and a range of political aides knew that he had lost the race but still raised money off claims that they were fighting widespread fraud in the vote results, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Led by the special counsel Jack Smith, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Mr. Trump and his aides violated federal wire fraud statutes as they raised as much as $250 million through a political action committee by saying they needed the money to fight to reverse election fraud even though they had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those fraud claims.
The prosecutors are looking at the inner workings of the committee, Save America PAC, and at the Trump campaign’s efforts to prove its baseless case that Mr. Trump had been cheated out of victory.
In the past several months, prosecutors have issued multiple batches of subpoenas in a wide-ranging effort to understand Save America, which was set up shortly after the election as Mr. Trump’s main fund-raising entity. An initial round of subpoenas, which started going out before Mr. Trump declared his candidacy in the 2024 race and Mr. Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in November, focused on various Republican officials and vendors that had received payments from Save America.
But more recently, investigators have homed in on the activities of a joint fund-raising committee made up of staff members from the 2020 Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, among others. Some of the subpoenas have sought documents from around Election Day 2020 up the present.
Prosecutors have been heavily focused on details of the campaign’s finances, spending and fund-raising, such as who was approving email solicitations that were blasted out to lists of possible small donors and what they knew about the truth of the fraud claims, according to the people familiar with their work. All three areas overlap, and could inform prosecutors’ thinking about whether to proceed with charges in an investigation in which witnesses are still being interviewed.
“This is what it took for Arizona Republicans to expel an election denier”
Yvonne Wingett Sanchez for WaPo:
The story of how Republicans decided to oust Harris — marking only the fourth time in history that an Arizona state House member has been expelled — illuminates what it takes for GOP lawmakers to police their own when it comes to election-related misinformation.
Even given the extreme nature of the false claims, those alone would not have been enough to merit expulsion from the Republican-led House, according to interviews with 18 lawmakers, staff, local leaders and political operatives.
Instead, they said, she was done in both by her dishonesty with colleagues about whether she knew in advance the substance of her witness’s planned testimony as well as her willingness to help spread conspiracy theories targeting her party’s own leaders.
“There’s a lot of election deniers out there,” said one key state House Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment of a GOP caucus in which election denialism is common. “If that’s what we were going to be doing, there would be, like, 10 people expelled by now.”