The Republican National Committee has been relying on a stable of the party’s most prolific spreaders of false stolen-election theories to pilot a sweeping “election integrity” operation to recruit and coach thousands of poll workers in eight battleground states, according to new recordings of organizing summits held this spring in Florida and Pennsylvania obtained by POLITICO.
On the tapes, RNC National Election Integrity Director Josh Findlay repeatedly characterizes the committee’s role as supporting in-state coalitions — delivering staff, organization and “muscle”in key states to the person they identify as the quarterback of the effort to create a permanent workforce: Conservative elections attorney Cleta Mitchell, who was a central figure in former President Donald Trump’s legal strategy to overturn the 2020 election.
“Cleta Mitchell, she’s like the best election and election law expert out there. We’re not going to tell her what to do,” Findlay told a March 31Pennsylvania session organized by Mitchell.
Publicly, the RNC has insisted its goal is to ensure there are enough trained poll workers to protect the electoral process and ensure partisan parity at polling centers. The recordings, however, indicated that the RNC is relying heavily on people who have spread false or unproven claims of irregularities and conspiracies. The recordings feature Findlay speaking at a number of Mitchell’s “Election Integrity Network” summits, which her group has hosted in battleground states including Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The RNC is just “part of the team,” he told a Florida summit the same month.
While Republicans have said the aim of their “election integrity” effort is to ensure there are well-trained poll workers during the next election, the recordings also feature Mitchell speaking openly about the need to challenge efforts by nonprofit groups aligned with Democrats to create a “new American majority” of young voters, people of color and unmarried women.
Mitchell was on Trump’s post-election phone call directing a Georgia elections official to “find” him 11,700 votes after losing the state, and is she among those currently under subpoena in a criminal investigation by the Fulton County district attorney. Days after the 2020 election, she was exploring ways to keep Trump in power via a slate of fake electors from several battleground states. White House call logs show she is also among a handful of individuals with whom Trump spoke on Jan. 6, 2021, the day the Capitol was attacked, and she is suing to block the House Jan. 6 committee from obtaining her full phone records.
Mitchell, in a response to POLITICO, said her comments about the “new American majority” were referring to an executive order by the Biden administration directing federal agencies to help citizens register to vote and to educate them on how to do so. The effort amounts to turning “every federal agency into a Democratic turnout machine — using our tax dollars in the process,” said Mitchell.