Category Archives: Election Issues, Fraud

Confessions of a Coup Plotter, or The Death of Free Speech

By Frank Miele   April 25, 2022

Remember when we all thought we knew what a coup was? “A sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government,” as defined by Google’s Oxford dictionary. From the French coup d’etat, literally “blow of state.”

That’s what it was then, but now a coup is when legal means are used to counter a perceived attempt to seize power through subterfuge and electoral manipulation. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense.

No it doesn’t, but it’s the narrative being pushed by the far-left media and the inbred governing elites, who have essentially turned language into a weapon against those who would challenge their power. Thus, anyone who sought an investigation into the 2020 presidential election is now a danger to society, a threat to democracy, a domestic terrorist who ought to be thrown in prison.

It starts with Donald Trump, of course, who apparently engaged in what Rep. Jamie Raskin has identified peculiarly as a “self-coup.” And it continues with the protesters who foolishly fought with police on Jan. 6 because they thought that a real coup was taking place inside the Capitol and that they could do something about it. But in the past few weeks, we have been coached to accept the idea that anyone was part of the so-called “Trump coup” if they doubted the official election results. Never mind the First Amendment. Never mind the rule of law. If you took any steps, even though entirely legal, to contest the election, you are an enemy of the state.

Which brings me to my confession. I have to admit that both before and after the Nov. 3, 2020 election, I suspected that the Democrats would rig the election and said so publicly. I encouraged President Trump to fight the election results in the Electoral College, in the courts, in peaceful rallies, and in Congress. It seemed to me that no step short of violence should be omitted in the effort to prove that the election was stolen.

I was not alone. That’s probably what pisses off Democrats so much. There were millions of us, the good old Deplorables, who refused to give up and go away just because we were told by the media that we were crazy. After all, the media had told us we were crazy for thinking The Donald could win in 2016. They told us we were crazy for thinking Hillary Clinton was behind the Russia collusion hoax. They told us we were crazy for believing that a laptop filled with incriminating evidence against Hunter Biden and his father could be anything other than “Russian disinformation.”

They told us we were unhinged conspiracy theorists, but we persevered. We knew by now that the media lies – relentlessly. We knew they were in the tank for the Democratic Party. We knew that it was an uphill battle to get the truth out when the other side controlled Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and most of Fox News. But we knew we had a right to fight for what we believe in – not with arms, but armed with truth. This was still America after all.

So Sen. Josh Hawley worked to put together a coalition of Republican senators and representatives who would present evidence of fraud to the joint body of Congress which had to give its imprimatur to the Electoral College results. Earlier, attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis had gone into court after court looking for a venue where the evidence would be heard instead of turned away. And behind the scenes, people like Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginni were working to convince anyone who could help to keep fighting.

Under the new rules, Thomas is a coup plotter because she sent a text message urging Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to help Trump “stand firm” against what she called “the greatest Heist of our History.” That communication was one of many collected by the House’s Jan. 6 select committee through subpoenas and intimidation and then leaked to the media, which dutifully reported them as if they were incriminating.

They are not. Despite the breathless reporting by the likes of Chuck Todd and Jonathan Karl, the messages are predictable and repetitive. They prove nothing other than what we knew already – that many of those who believed the 2020 election was stolen weren’t content to sit quietly on the sidelines. Like Ginni Thomas, we were trying to think of any strategy that would convince the courts, Congress, and the American people to look at the evidence. It was no secret that we were doing so, because we were shouting from the highest mountain tops. Yet the Jan. 6 committee keeps trotting out these text messages and emails as if they were shedding light on some dark, hidden conspiracy.

Democrats seem to be convinced that anyone who questioned the election results publicly is guilty of “seditious conspiracy.” People like me are called “insurrectionists” even if we weren’t anywhere near the Capitol on the day when protesters stormed the halls of Congress.

The logic of the case is flawless. After all, the government told us in no uncertain terms that this election was “the most secure in American history,” and since the government has never lied to us before, we were expected to either heartily embrace the official story or at the very least shut the hell up. Dissent, we discovered, is not allowed in a democracy, dammit.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve always been a contrarian, so now there is a ton of evidence that I was part of the Trump “self-coup,” and I figure there’s nothing left for me to do except confess. It should be easy for some smart young government lawyer to convince a court to lock me up for years based on what I have written.

Heck, even before the election was over, I warned that no one should expect the results to be announced early “because of the rigged system of early voting and late counting cobbled together by Democrats and useful idiot RINOs that allows massive manipulation of the results to achieve a favored result.” I also warned that “Any state that allows late counting could see weird things like precincts voting 100% for Biden.”

Despite my fears, by midnight Eastern Time, I was ready to project that Donald Trump was the winner even though I conceded that he had likely lost Wisconsin and Arizona. I awarded him Pennsylvania, where he was ahead by 14 percentage points, and Michigan, where he had an 11-point lead. And I gave him Georgia, of course, not yet knowing about the votes that were stashed under tables or the corrupt bargain that Stacy Abrams had negotiated with the secretary of state.

The next morning I wrote a post where I assessed the dramatic swing that had occurred while most of America was sleeping. Seems that the vote counting had stopped in key states with Trump far ahead, but then miraculously switched direction when counting started again. All of a sudden it looked like Trump would lose. Still, I included this caveat: “The question of course is whether there is any fraud in the ballot counting. The whole thing will be headed to court, but Republicans don’t usually win in court.”

Truer words were never written. Except maybe these written later that same day:

“How can it be 24 hours later, and we still don’t know the final unofficial vote count from every state in the union? I know there are many different time zones, but are some of the states still in the 19th century? In what reality is it OK for Nevada to just stop counting its ballots with 75% done? … Don’t get me started on Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. There are lots of questions in all three states about the magical ability of Joe Biden to garner thousands of votes at the same time Trump gets none. We will see whether those votes hold up.”

Well, needless to say, they did hold up – in the official count – but that didn’t stop many of us from asking questions, raising hell, and demanding answers.

Two days after the election, I wrote a column for RealClearPolitics that called Nov. 3 “the Kafka Election” and began to list some of the irregularities being reported in five battleground states, and particularly in Detroit, Mich.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Atlanta, Ga.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Las Vegas, Nev.

“The allegations,” I noted, “range from mysterious ballot drops that seem to show tens of thousands of votes for Joe Biden and zero votes for President Trump, inexplicable record turnouts in late-counting counties (all Democrat-dominated) that far surpass turnouts in counties in other states where the votes were counted on a timely basis; and of course the illegal banning of election observers in those very counties where the most outrageous anomalies are reported.”

As I also wrote at the time, “The judicial process allows a candidate to go to court to present evidence of fraud or violations of law in the casting or counting of ballots, but then what? … [I]f Republicans prove wrongdoing, what exactly is the solution? Remember, you can’t distinguish a legal vote from an illegal vote once they have been counted, so what can a judge do? What could the Supreme Court do?”

For the next two months, I posted repeatedly to my blog at about the legal fight to prove fraud in the election – and about the media’s stubborn refusal to look at the evidence. By the end of December, there was only one legal remedy left – stopping the certification of the electoral votes by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. I therefore celebrated on Dec. 30 when Sen. Hawley announced he would object to the results in Pennsylvania and possibly in other states. That meant the case for election fraud would finally be put before the American people in a venue where the evidence could not be ignored or swept under the rug.

The following Monday, I ran a column at RealClearPolitics that lauded Hawley for answering “The Call of Conscience,” but adding a word of caution:

“Mind you, there is no reason to expect that the Jan. 6 session of Congress will result in certification of President Trump as the victor of the 2020 election. Despite the extensive evidence of fraud that has been amassed, this vote will be an exercise in raw political power, not an expression of blind justice. Probably the best that Trump supporters can hope for is a fair hearing before the American people regarding the reason why doubts exist as to the legitimacy of Biden’s apparent victory.”

Unfortunately, that fair hearing never happened. As everyone now knows, the invasion of the Capitol by overzealous protesters shut down the whole process. The case for fraud was never properly made because by the time Congress reconvened in the middle of the night, the nation’s attention had shifted to the dangerous assault that had occurred in broad daylight. National Guard troops were called up to protect the Capitol, razor-wire fences were erected, and the Democrats began their steady drum beat of rhetoric that blamed Trump for a coup and an insurrection.

Let’s get one thing straight. The riot that happened on Jan. 6 did not aid Trump’s cause.. It hurt the president more than anyone, and quickly led to him being impeached for the second time. As I wrote while the riot was still taking place:

“We don’t know who these people are yet, but President Trump is going to get the blame for this idiotic insurrection. If they are patriots, who do they think they are helping? Certainly not Trump! [But] when Democrats say Trump was attempting a coup, they will now point to this violence as proof of their claims.”

That was smart of me. Too smart. And when I look back at what I wrote from Nov. 3, 2020 to Jan. 6, 2021, and beyond, I am surprised there hasn’t already been a knock on my door, followed by the shout: “Come out from behind the First Amendment. Put your column down, stop writing, hands in the air, and follow us! You’re under arrest for plotting a coup.”

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His new book, “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends,” and his earlier books are available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Gettr @HeartlandDiary.


20 Federal ‘Assets’ Embedded at Capitol on Jan. 6, Court Filing Says

By Joseph M Hanneman, The Epoch Times

At least 20 FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives “assets” were embedded around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a defense attorney wrote in a court filing on April 12.

The disclosure was made in a motion seeking to dismiss seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges against 10 Oath Keepers defendants in one of the most prominent Jan. 6 criminal cases.

David W. Fischer, attorney for Thomas E. Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia, filed a 41-page motion to dismiss four counts on behalf of all Oath Keepers case defendants before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta in Washington, D.C.

Caldwell is charged in the indictment, but is not a member of the Oath Keepers, he told The Epoch Times in March.

Photo showing Capitol Police being escorted down the Capitol steps through the crowd to safety on January 6 by members of the Oath Keepers.
Capitol Police are escorted down the Capitol steps through the crowd to safety on Jan. 6 by members of the Oath Keepers. (Courtesy of Roberto Minuta)

“At least 20 FBI and ATF assets were embedded around the Capitol on J6,” read a footnote on Page 6 of the motion. No other details were provided in the document.

The footnote said defense attorneys “combed through a mountain of discovery,” including FBI form 302 summaries of interviews conducted by FBI agents.

In addition to the information about law-enforcement assets on the ground at the Capitol, the footnote says, the Oath Keepers “were being monitored and recorded prior to J6.”

Poring over evidence turned over in discovery by prosecutors in two major Oath Keepers cases has “not found one iota of proof” that defendants “had any plan, intention, design, or scheme to specifically enter the Capitol Building on J6,” the motion said.

Fischer told The Epoch Times he could not comment on the motion or provide more details on the footnote.

Since the first arrests of Jan. 6 defendants in early 2021, there has been extensive speculation and questions from attorneys, defendants, case observers, and members of Congress about the role law enforcement played that day.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Jan. 11, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled top FBI officials on the subject.

“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.

“Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn said.

Cruz replied, “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of Jan. 6, yes or no?”

“Sir, I can’t answer that,” Sanborn said.

“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on Jan. 6?” Cruz asked.

“I can’t answer that, sir,” Sanborn replied.

Jeremy M. Brown, an Oath Keepers member from Florida who was charged with two Jan. 6-related counts but is not part of either major Oath Keepers conspiracy case, told The Epoch Times earlier this year that the FBI unsuccessfully tried to recruit him in 2020 to spy on the group.

Brown said the same agents who later arrested him for alleged Jan. 6 crimes tried to recruit him on Dec. 11, 2020, to become a confidential informant. He refused. He was arrested on Sept. 30, 2021, when dozens of federal agents swarmed his Florida property.

“When asked by me and my girlfriend to produce the warrants at the time of arrest, they refused to produce them,” Brown said. “One agent was even recorded stating, ‘We don’t know what we are looking for yet.’ They should look for a copy of the Constitution and read it.”

No Crime Stated?

The Oath Keepers, including founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, are charged with conspiring to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election. Protests and rioting on Jan. 6 interrupted a joint session of Congress for about six hours.

“The Rhodes defendants seek dismissal of Counts 1-4 on the grounds that the indictment fails to state an offense as to each count,” Fischer wrote in his motion.

The four counts covered in the motion to dismiss all refer to obstructing a proceeding or preventing an officer from discharging duties.

Under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the seditious conspiracy charge “requires proof that the purpose of the defendants’ seditious conspiracy was to forcibly obstruct a person authorized to execute a law, while that person was attempting to execute the particular law opposed by the defendants,” Fischer wrote.

“Per binding precedent, however, Members of Congress are constitutionally prohibited from ‘executing any law of the United States,’ ” the motion said. “Additionally, per binding precedent, the Electoral College certification process did not constitute the ‘execution of any law of the United States.’ ”

oath keepers
Members of the Oath Keepers are seen during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment are brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), but that law only applies to obstructive acts related to the destruction of evidence, the motion said.

This argument was cited in March by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who dismissed the same obstruction charge in two other Jan. 6 cases.

Count 4 accuses the defendants of conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

Under binding legal precedent, the motion argues, the terms “office,” “officer” and “officer of the United States” take their meaning from the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Members of Congress are not “officers” under the Appointments Clause, Fischer wrote.

The motion described the indictment as “an obscenely one-sided, selectively edited, and inaccurate representation of [Oath Keepers’] actions and statements.”

The Oath Keepers “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) described in the criminal complaint as being ready to assist in the attack on the Capitol with men and armaments were actually standing by in Virginia in case Oath Keepers in DC were attacked or threatened by Antifa, the motion said.

“… Every scrap of evidence reviewed confirms that the ‘QRFs,’ which were utilized on numerous prior dates, were intended as rescue forces in the event that the Oath Keepers were attacked by Antifa or a similar contingency, and not to attack the Capitol Building,” the filing said.

In a companion motion filed on behalf of defendant Kelly Meggs, attorney Jonathon Moseley described the notion of opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power as a “thought crime,” and the charge in the indictment as “devoid of supporting factual allegations.”

“The Constitution makes clear that it is a Constitutional impossibility to ‘oppose the transfer of presidential power.’ Not only could such a goal not be accomplished, but beyond that, it is an irrational concept lacking in any basis, in fact, law, or common sense,” Moseley wrote.

“This is not a case in which conspirators might attempt to do something they are unable to successfully achieve,” Moseley’s filing said. “It is an irrational concept like dividing by zero. There can be no such thing in law or fact.”

The Epoch Times contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment but did not receive a reply by press time.


Applying International Standards to 2020 Elections

What if we applied the principles of election integrity we expect from other countries to the United States? By Tim Meisburger

April 8, 2022

The U.S. government spends about $2.4 billion per year supporting democracy around the world. Through this support we aim to encourage adoption and compliance with internationally accepted principles and obligations for democratic elections and governance. These principles and obligations are grounded in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and are included and elaborated on in regional treaties and agreements. 

Grounded in this foundation, advocates of democracy have developed detailed approaches to evaluating the fairness and legitimacy of elections, and the quality of democratic governance. How does the 2020 election in the United States compare to the standards we apply in our international democracy assistance?

Effective elections must accurately reflect the free expression of the will of the people; and must be perceived by the voters as fair with an outcome seen as legitimate. Elections fail when they do not result in an outcome generally perceived as fair or legitimate. Failure can be caused by a breakdown in process, or by factors that cause voters to doubt the fairness or legitimacy of the process. 

Although there is a lot of evidence of both process failure and intentional malpractice in the 2020 presidential election, a strong argument can be made that this was a failed election because it did not meet the minimal standard of ensuring the perception of legitimacy among a large portion of the population. Numerous factors over a long period of time have contributed to the general lack of faith in the legitimacy of our election process.

Election Environment

The relative fairness of an election cannot be determined solely by considering what occurs on election day, as there are a number of other factors which can affect citizens’ and political parties’ ability to participate effectively in the democratic process. 

Politicized Bureaucracy: When looking at the environment for elections, international observers try to determine if there is evidence of a politicized bureaucracy; that is, a bureaucracy that is composed almost entirely of representatives of one party or faction. If this exists, there is a presumption of bias, and efforts are made to depoliticize the bureaucracy, and ensure safeguards are in place to prevent the bureaucracy from suppressing other political parties, and manipulating election processes. 

In the United States, it is unfortunate but true that one party has come to represent unionized government workers, and it is alleged that these unions prevent significant employment in government of members of other parties. This apparent discrimination has resulted in up to 95 percent of employees belonging to one party, and has even contributed to an oppressive environment where employees with diverse opinions have become afraid to express their opinions for fear of losing promotion and employment opportunities, and being “doxxed” or “canceled.” 

The politicization of the public-employee bureaucracy is highlighted most clearly by the creation by the FBI of “investigations” of Russian collusion based on disinformation created by Russians. The information appeared to be fake from the beginning, but was used to justify activities aimed at damaging the electoral prospects of one party in 2018 and 2020. In addition, the politicization of the FBI bureaucracy is seen in the failure to investigate or prosecute illegality related to the storage and use of classified material, falsifying affidavits, and “pay for play” schemes involving high-level members of their favored party. 

Media and Voter Education: Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential for electoral democracy, and promotion of these freedoms is an essential element in America’s foreign policy and human rights strategy. Effective voter education is also essential for fair elections. To participate effectively in elections, voters need to understand the registration and polling processes, and for their participation to be meaningful, they need to have information about the policies and platforms of competing candidates and parties so they can make an informed choice. Voter education through election administrations and civil society organizations is a major component of our international election assistance. 

Unfortunately, multinational and monopolistic corporations have captured most of the media in the United States, including the increasingly important social and entertainment media. Their global perspective aligns most closely with one party, and, with the support of their allies in the bureaucracy, these oligarchs feel increasingly free to shape their reporting and messages towards the party line. Obvious untruths (like the Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax) are promoted, true information (like the suspicious business activities of a presidential candidate and his son) is hidden or ignored, and the political speech of opponents and ordinary citizens is openly suppressed. Entertainment media, including movies, television shows, and sports, are also increasingly used by the oligarchs (often referred to as the “one percent”) to deliver political propaganda. 

Disinformation, propaganda, and lying (by commission or omission) by the establishment media resulted in many voters lacking the information they needed to make an informed choice on election day in 2020. From an international standards perspective, monopoly control of media by one party is an indication of an environment not conducive to free and fair elections.

Violence and Intimidation: In many countries, election assistance provided by the U.S. State Department goes to tracking and trying to mitigate election-related violence and intimidation. This type of violence is typically perpetrated by formal or informal youth wings of political parties, and aimed at suppressing political events or speech by adherents of other parties, and discouraging vulnerable voters from participating in elections. Significant political violence and intimidation is sufficient to call into question the integrity of an election process. 

Yet domestically, the United States has seen a huge increase in politically motivated violence and intimidation since the 2016 election. The violence began with unmotivated attacks on people wearing political hats, or with bumper stickers on their cars, and intensified when gangs of youths wearing black masks began attacking speakers and their supporters on college campuses. Later, these same thugs rioted in urban centers, hunting down and beating up anyone suspected of harboring opposing political views. 

The violence and intimidation also occurred online. For the first time, a major American political party had come out against free speech, arguing that politically incorrect opinions constituted “hate speech” that should be criminalized. While the blackshirt thugs attempted to enforce these ill-defined speech codes in the street, their more sedentary allies had potentially far greater negative impact doxxing or canceling anyone who dared express disfavored opinions online.

Intimidation and threats of violence were effective, and in the 2020 elections vast areas of the country had no bumper stickers or yard signs for one party. In my neighborhood (Falls Church, Va.), I asked the local party chair for a yard sign and was told they were not distributing them because they might be used to target party members for violent attacks, keying cars, or burning houses. It is commonly acknowledged that in the United States in 2020, most people did not feel free to openly express their political opinions. 

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Election Process

Changing the Electoral Framework: According to international standards, changes to the electoral framework should be made in an inclusive and transparent manner, and passed with sufficient time before Election Day to enable adequate voter education. This is important because one of the most common causes of failure in elections is changing the election framework close to the election. Sometimes the failure is related to increased complexity introduced through a new process or technology that cannot be effectively implemented in the time available; but often it is because the change is perceived to provide an unfair advantage to one party. Either can fatally undermine the legitimacy of the process. 

The U.S. Constitution provides relatively little guidance on the conduct of elections, leaving that to the states and sometimes to counties to determine. This has resulted in the most complex, disjointed, and irrational election legal framework in the world. Problems have surfaced repeatedly in numerous election cycles, but no significant effort to adopt international best practices has ever been made. These varying standards and approaches create opportunities for confusion and malpractice and significantly diminish voter confidence in the integrity of the process. 

In the 2020 election cycle dozens of significant changes in election processes were made across the country. Many of those were made late in the process, with some during or after the actual election. These late changes were perceived to serve partisan interests, and contributed to undermining public confidence in elections. The most significant factor used to justify these late changes was the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 and Mail-in Ballots: When the pandemic struck early in 2020, democracy assistance providers in the United States and other Western nations responded almost immediately. By April of 2020 USAID had produced a paper highlighting how authoritarian leaders and other malign influences might use the pandemic to undermine democracy and human rights, and provided advice on how civil society groups overseas might protect against or mitigate these abuses. Subsequent papers by the foreign policy establishment focused on how election processes could be modified to protect voters while ensuring integrity during the pandemic. During 2020, USAID provided substantial assistance to many countries to facilitate COVID adaptation, ensuring in-person voting could be conducted safely and more or less on schedule. 

Within the United States, however, the immediate electoral response to the pandemic was a push by one party for mail-in rather than in-person voting. It is well known among election specialists that mail-based voting is much more susceptible to fraud and abuse than in-person voting, but it was argued that the pandemic made mail-in voting necessary (despite the examples of safe in-person voting from other countries). The new mass mail-in voting processes were conflated with existing systems for absentee voting, but the new systems lacked the checks and security features developed over generations for absentee voting. In the event, the public-health fears proved unfounded, as much of the country did vote in person without appreciably affecting the overall incidence of the disease. 

In many parts of the country, matching a signature on a voter list with that on an absentee ballot was the only way to verify the identity of the voter. To handle the huge number of mail-in ballots compared to previous elections, signature matching processes were changed or eliminated without proper transparency or consideration, shortcuts were taken and safeguards dropped, which weakened security and diminished confidence in the validity of millions of ballots in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Mail-in or absentee ballots lacking an outer security envelope would normally be ruled invalid, but in Pennsylvania they were accepted, contrary to international practice and norms. 

In most elections worldwide, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by a specified date (usually Election Day) to be counted, but in Wisconsin and Michigan employees of the United States Postal Service were instructed to backdate late arriving ballots so they could still be counted.

Mail-in ballots also facilitated a practice called “ballot harvesting,” in which political operatives go door to door picking up ballots from homeowners. This undermines the secrecy of the ballot and introduces opportunities for intimidation and vote buying, and in places like senior homes and apartment blocks enables one person to collect, fill in, and submit numerous ballots. Ballot harvesting decreases the security and credibility of election processes and is consequently contrary to international best practices.

Voter Registration and Voter ID: The U.S. government has provided hundreds of millions of dollars through its foreign assistance to support voter registration processes in other countries. An accurate voter list and effective voter ID are seen as essential for deterring malpractice and cheating, and for enhancing voter confidence in the integrity of the process. American foreign policy also promotes the Open Election Data Initiative, which advocates internationally for transparent and publicly accessible election data. 

Domestically, again, the picture is quite different. The average accuracy of state-maintained voter lists is far below what would be considered minimally acceptable overseas. The update process is often non-transparent, and some states outsource their list maintenance to a private organization funded by a politically partisan billionaire. Many states restrict public access to some election data, and charge exorbitant fees for data they do release, limiting the public’s ability to verify the process, and violating international norms. 

In 2020, poorly maintained voter lists led to allegations of ineligible voters in several areas. In Georgia, a campaign lawyer provided a list of more than 70,000 allegedly ineligible voters who had cast ballots in the election. Also in Georgia, over 20,000 people appear to have filed a Notice of Changed Address form to the Georgia state government or had other indications of moving out of state, but these ineligible voters appear to have remained on the voter rolls and were able to vote in the 2020 election. The dead also appear to have voted in these elections with remarkable frequency. In Pennsylvania matching voter rolls to public obituaries found 8,000 dead voters successfully casting mail-in ballots. Similar findings were reported from Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada. 

Through our foreign assistance programs, the U.S. government supports in-person voter registration and biometric (fingerprints or retinal scanning) voter ID; which can be checked against a central database during the voting process to prevent multiple instances of voting for one person and ensure that only those who are qualified can vote. Yet here at home, one political party opposes any voting ID requirement, arguing that significant numbers of disadvantaged populations (primarily African Americans) don’t have ready access to ID, and thus will be disenfranchised. This argument is widely perceived as a partisan attempt to create space for cheating because it is only ever applied to voting, not to flying, or cashing checks, or other activities that require ID; and secondly, because it is patronizing and African Americans generally do have IDs.

In election assistance overseas, if there is a marginalized population without access to IDs (the right to identity is recognized by the UN), this is generally addressed by creating specific programs to ensure that everyone has access to them; and this would also be the appropriate response in the United States, if lack of ID were actually a serious concern. 

Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Election Management

Vote Buying: Vote buying overseas is often a form of patronage, symbolizing the feudal bond between a local big man and his clients. It damages democracy because it replaces accountable representation with a one-time payment, but also because it views people as inherently unequal; with a few having agency and the rest merely dependents. Vote-buying is common in underdeveloped countries that retain a feudal patron-client social structure, and ending this practice and the patriarchal social structure that goes with it is a frequent objective of U.S. democracy assistance. 

Surprisingly, there are credible reports of vote-buying in recent U.S. elections as well. In one report, political party operatives in full party regalia offered people raffle tickets for cash and prizes if they would vote. Similar activities happened in many other states, in all cases targeting Native American communities, presumably under the assumption that Native Americans would be more susceptible to this form of malpractice. 

Ballot Box Stuffing: Internationally, ballot box stuffing is one of the most common forms of severe election cheating. In most cases, ballot box stuffing can only occur with the cooperation of polling station staff, so evidence of stuffing necessarily implicates some or all polling station workers. It can occur the old-fashioned way (marking extra paper ballots for a favored candidate), or though through more modern means where machines are used in the polling process. 

Ballot box stuffing is prevented by a transparent process open to observers, so a non-transparent process is cause for concern. A primary focus of U.S. election assistance is promoting a transparent process that allows effective observation, and much of our other election assistance supports international and domestic election observers. 

Following the November 3, 2020 elections there were numerous reports of ballot box stuffing. One truck driver swore an affidavit that he picked up large crates of ballots in New York and delivered them to a polling location in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania a polling worker is alleged to have used an unsecured USB flash drive to load a large cache of votes onto vote tabulation machines that did not correlate with the mail-in ballots scanned into the machines. In Wisconsin, poll workers were observed running ballots through tabulation machines more than once, and in Wayne County, Michigan, poll watchers observed canvassers re-scanning batches of ballots through vote tabulation machines up to three or four times. 

In another incident at a counting center located at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia supervisors told poll watchers, observers, and media that counting would be suspended due to a water leak, but after the room was cleared, several election officials pulled out large boxes of ballots from underneath a draped table and proceeded to feed those votes into the counting machines. This was all caught on video, and a surge in votes for one candidate could be seen after these votes were processed. 

Some officials and their allies in the media suggested it is perfectly acceptable to count ballots in the absence of observers, but it is an international best practice to only count in the presence of observers (in some countries it is required that observers be present). If observers are intentionally sent out of a counting center, or prevented from effective observation in any other way, that is seen as evidence of malpractice, and reason enough for an international observation mission to state they are unable to validate the election process. 

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Election Observation

In-Person Observation: Election observation is the most visible part of U.S. democracy assistance, typically carried out by high-profile organizations like the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute. Observers play a critical role in ensuring that an election process is transparent—and transparency is the most important factor in determining whether an election process is perceived as credible and legitimate. Nothing else, no technology or process, can replace transparency in reassuring voters that an election is fair. 

Every international and domestic observer has a checklist, and every checklist has a central question: Were observers allowed to observe all aspects of the polling and counting processes? Failure to allow observers into polling stations or counting centers, or to allow them to observe all aspects of the process, is relatively common in less developed countries, and is recognized as sufficient to delegitimize an entire election in the location it occurs. 

International standards require that observers be allowed to witness all aspects of the process: they can see the empty ballot box before the polls open; can see that IDs are checked and that the IDs presented match the person; can hear the person’s name as it is called out, and see it checked off the voter list; can see that the voter receives one ballot only, marks it in secret, and places it in the ballot box. 

After the polling observers should be able to see the box opened, and as the votes are counted they can confirm that the party or candidate called out is the same that is marked on the ballot, and can confirm that the standards used to rule mismarked ballots invalid are applied equally. At the end of the count they can freely record the results, so that, with results from other observers, they can independently aggregate all results in a parallel process to confirm the official aggregation process. 

Failure to meet any of these criteria is noted and can be seen as grounds to doubt the legitimacy of the process, or to declare that the legitimacy of the process cannot be confirmed due to a lack of transparency. 

It should be noted that the process described above is a manual process, and there is a good reason for this. No other election process allows the same level of transparency to observers as a manual process. An observer can arrive in the morning before opening, watch the process all day, watch the count, and at the end of the day testify that the process was fair and legitimate. Machine voting (except in hybrid systems used in Korea) simply doesn’t allow this level of transparency for observers, and so cannot generate the level of confidence that is possible with manual voting. 

The 2020 U.S. elections were riddled with instances of suppression of legal observation. In Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, poll watchers and observers were denied entry to ballot counting centers by judges of elections and other poll workers, despite presenting proper certification and identification. In Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, poll watchers were forced inside confined areas, limiting their view. In some cases, this confinement was enforced by local law enforcement. Across these four battleground states, poll watchers were directed to stand at unreasonably lengthy distances from ballot counters. In Michigan, poll workers put poster boards over the windows of the room where ballots were being processed and counted so as to block the view. In Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of ballots were processed in back rooms where poll observers were prohibited from being able to observe at all. 

According to international norms and standards, every single instance of interference with or suppression of election observation is regarded as at least an irregularity, undermining faith in the integrity of the process, and at worst evidence of efforts to conceal criminal activities. When observers and the public lack confidence in the integrity of an election process, democracy assistance providers normally recommend canceling the flawed elections and holding new ones. 

Statistical Anomalies: In most countries international observers supplement in-person observation with statistical analysis that is highly effective in revealing anomalies indicative of malpractice. Many such analyses conducted following the 2020 elections have identified significant anomalies. One analyst assessed publicly available data published by the New York Times and had anomalous findings more than the margin of victory in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. 

An anomalous data pattern observed in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia showed a significant decrease in the rejection rate for mail-in ballots. Normally, the rejection rate for absentee ballots is higher than for in-person ballots, due to the additional requirements for absentee ballots (e.g., if someone forgets to seal the ballot or place a signature on the outer envelope the ballot will be rejected). With a huge number of people casting mail-in ballots for the first time, you would expect the invalid rate to be even higher in the COVID-affected election, and this is what did occur in most places, but not in these battleground states. This anomaly indicates different standards were used in assessment, or that no standards were applied to a significant number of fraudulent ballots.

It is a sad irony that in many American states, covering numerous different practices and procedures, and with an array of specific examples, the 2020 election in the United States—the birthplace of modern democracy—failed to live up the standards that we expect and encourage in the rest of the world.

About Tim Meisburger

Tim Meisburger, former Director of Democracy and Governance at the US Agency for International Development, has worked in international development since 1988. He currently advises Virginians for America First, the election integrity arm of Americans for Limited Government. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Applying International Standards to 2020 Elections


project 65: a massive threat to the united states

4/6/2022 Defending the Republic

Today we will be outlining for you a massive, evil threat to our country, our freedoms and to The Rule of Law.

Everyday we are seeing more and more evidence that there was election fraud of all kinds all over the country in 2020.

We have been sharing this information with you for over a year – from the influence of millions spent by Mark Zuckerberg, to ballots delivered in semi-trucks, to lies about voting machines being connected to the internet, to drop boxes and mail-in ballots. The list of illegal acts perpetuated by the leftists of the world to obstruct the election is a long one. More information emerges daily supporting the reality of the fraud, how long it as plagued us and how widespread it is.

You would think the left would try to slink away quietly, embarrassed by being caught. But, they are so emboldened by the fact they stole the power, they are doubling down on destroying anyone who dared challenge their authority and spoke about illegal activities surrounding the election of 2020.

As you know, Sidney Powell (and our legal staff at Defending The Republic) have been working tirelessly to help people caught in the snares of our corrupt government and its many corrupt institutions. They have done this despite the heavy load of $4 billion dollar law suits filed against Sidney and five suits in four jurisdictions, multiple baseless bar grievances filed against multiple members of our team, countless false media hit pieces, and politically-driven sanctions motions.

These actions are pure harassment suits brought for the primary if not sole purpose of intimidating or bludgeoning us into silence.

Added to the lawsuits and other threats, there is now a fully-staffed and well-funded evil organization working to destroy any attorney who stands against the cabal that planned and orchestrated the coup of the presidency of the United States.

The group doing this is called The 65 Project

NOTE: You may also see it as Project 65.

This newsletter is to inform you of this group and to ask for your help to fight it.  As you can imagine, Sidney Powell is high on their list for destruction.  She and Defending The Republic are squarely over the target with our messages and our legal battles. We are fighting every day for you on multiple fronts, and they know we know what they did.

They not only want to shut us down, they want to destroy Sidney Powell. This is unadulterated political intimidation and lawfare at its worst.

Inform yourself on these people, their tactics, and their organizations.  We must fight this battle together.  (1) Discuss this information everywhere you go and (2) pass this information on to your friends.

Now, it is imperative that you join us with your financial support. Make a monthly contribution to help us help you.  We have more battles to fight now than when we began our efforts, and they have only become more intense as the left has consolidated unprecedented powers as they have taken away more freedoms than we ever thought possible in this country.

Join us in continuing our work on behalf of many January 6 defendants, US military members who do not want to be forced to risk their health by taking an unlicensed, experimental “clotshot”, and our ongoing defense against Dominion, Eric Coomer, various bar Associations, the city of Detroit, state officials in Michigan, and now Project 65.

Here, in full, are three articles that will help you understand the tactics of the left and what is at stake. Every American should be outraged by this effort to chill all debate or legal accountability, not to mention the well-funded deliberate destruction of reputations and livelihoods.

“I and Defending The Republic stand in the gap for you every day.  For us to succeed, each of you must join us in every way you can. Send this to all your friends. Encourage everyone to join us by donation $10/month to fund our fight.  Discuss the issues and information we share we you everywhere you go.  You can do something about all the wrongs you see by helping us fight them.  Together, we cannot be stopped.  We are determined to find the truth and set it free.” – Sidney Powell, April 6, 2022

“Project 65” Seeks to Kill All the Trump Lawyers — By Canceling Them: The Progressive Left’s Latest Move to Destroy America

by Jeffrey Clark, Former Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department

As Shakespeare famously wrote in Henry VI Part II: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Even for me as a lawyer, it’s hard not to sympathize with that sentiment. Lawyers are a drag. But in reflective moments, I’m more partial to Sir Thomas More’s line from Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons: “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s!”

The evenhanded application of the law is a principle that must be defended. Everywhere, balance and perspective are under attack. Whatever the costs of America’s process-heavy adversarial contests, that feature of our polity is a key bulwark of liberty. Due process is not something to be trifled with, deconstructed, or thrown away based on the passions of the political moment.

Yet that is happening, right now. The Left has set the lines of battle: Any lawyers who worked for President Trump with verve and ingenuity, along with any lawyers he retained to mount his various 2020 election contests, must be crushed, must have their noses rubbed into the dirt, must if possible lose their jobs and even their right to practice law.

It’s not right, just as it would not have been right to demonize the lawyers who mounted Al Gore’s challenges to the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

On the Left, the constant rallying cry is “Remember January 6!” It’s like a woke version of “Remember the Alamo!”, designed to divide and conquer instead of unite the nation in the spirit of apple-pie American patriotism. For those who know me, I’m a lot more partial to traditional patriotism than to false and cynical attempts by MSNBC and its ilk to use the aberration of January 6 as some kind of Rosetta Stone to American politics.

As James O’Keefe has recently brought to light, even Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times secretly knows I’m right.

Project 65 and Its Despicable Aims

When the Left wants something, you can be sure that limitless streams of money will soon pour forth to fund their destructive crusade. Recently, Axios profiled something significant you might have missed: “Project 65,” a new initiative funded by millions in “dark money” to destroy as many Trump-affiliated lawyers as possible.

At the retail level, Project 65’s purpose is to file bar complaints against 111 lawyers wherever they are licensed.

At the wholesale level, it seeks to amend state bar rules, so that no lawyers with a sense of self-preservation will ever again want to bring election-related contests on behalf of President Trump, or any other populist conservative candidate.

According to Project 65, everyone secretly knows that elections in Atlanta, Chicago, or Philadelphia (my home town) are entirely aboveboard, so any legal challenges to them must be in bad faith. My Mom’s stories from decades of poll watching in Philadelphia must have been hallucinated, and a slew of election fraud cases in Philadelphia must have magically disappeared from the annals of the law.

The Chicago corruption of Mayor Daley in the 1960 presidential election is an old wives’ tale. Election fraud in America simply doesn’t exist. Of course, some exceptions exist—for Democrat complaints of voter fraud, of course.

Don’t expect Project 65 to file a bar complaint any time soon against losing candidate Stacey Abrams over her frequent claims to be the legitimate governor of Georgia.

Project 65 is led by David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America and the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century. Brock is still on his life-long quest to expiate his decades-old “sin” of writing The Real Anita Hill, a book attacking the credibility of Clarence Thomas’s harassment accuser. Brock will be joined by an advisory board that includes former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, Clinton affiliate Melissa Moss, and “Republican” Paul Rosenzweig.

(Here I pause to ask, Paul, what’s happened to you? We both served in the Bush 43 Administration, me at Justice and you at Homeland Security. President Trump actually achieved many of the goals President Bush advocated, yet rarely did much to accomplish. Talking a good game is not the same thing as running a good game. Best to judge by fruits and not by braggadocious tweets, I think.

Never Trumpism seems to be a fever that makes calmly comparing records impossible.)

Here’s what Brock describes as the mission of his project:

“[Project 65] will not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints but shame them and make them toxic in their communities.”

According to Axios, Brock’s plan is nothing less than a war of the strong against the weak: 

“I think the littler fish are probably more vulnerable to what we’re doing… You’re threatening their livelihoods. And you know, they’ve got reputations in their local communities.”

Give Brock points for honesty, at least. Not everyone has the guts to gloat about being pure evil. Project 65 is torn right from the playbook of Saul Alinsky (“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it”): Shame lawyers, plague them with hefty legal bills, and especially pick off ones who are less famous and backed by fewer resources.

Given all that, it’s better to call Project 65 Project Shame, Project Fear, or the Project of Personal Destruction.

And wait, why is it even called Project 65? Because (groan) that’s the number of lawsuits filed to support the “Big Lie,” of course.

Monopolies are never good, whether one is talking about cornering the market for silver, for banking services, for rare earth minerals (hello CCP), or for social media. Lawyers are indispensable to promoting any abstract cause or to any concrete enterprise that must enter the court system to present grievances.

Trying to shame, outlaw, and destroy the personal reputations of any category of lawyers, on the Right or on the Left, must be resisted with maximum effort. And make no mistake, as Axios recognizes after talking to Brock himself (and others at Project 65 clinging to anonymity), the goal of the effort is to chill market forces:

“The 65 Project is focused on starving any future efforts of legal talent as well as focusing on 2020.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz sees the game afoot. He told Breitbart that he will “defend any lawyer targeted by [the] McCarthyist ’65 Project.'” Good for him. He immediately recognizes that Project 65 flunks any test of Kantian evenhandedness and ethics:

It was only 22 years ago when lawyers like me sought to block the election of President George W. Bush, believing as we did that Al Gore actually received more votes than Bush in Florida and was the rightful winner. We lost in court. But back then no one suggested going after the hundreds of lawyers who tried to prevent Bush’s certification. A dangerous weapon, like the 65 Project, unleashed by Democrats will surely be used by Republicans at some future time. [Breitbart]

Bingo. It’s the Golden Rule. If progressives can try to starve Republicans of legal talent, turnabout will become fair play. And it should not be allowed to become fair play—by either side.

Weaponizing bar rules to endlessly relitigate contests about the 2020 presidential election (or any election) is not what the rules of legal ethics and professional conduct exist to accomplish. It is blatant lawfare, designed to impose ruinous costs on lawyers of an enemy political faction. It’s a Pandora’s box that should remain closed.

The Three Categories of Lawyers Project 65 Seeks to “Freeze” in Alinsky Terms

Project 65 plans to target three categories of lawyers: (1) Trump’s inner circle of lawyers, e.g., Jenna Ellis and Boris Epsteyn, (2) lawyers who signed on to be alternate presidential electors; and (3) attorneys who participated in the attack on the Capitol or were simply present at the events of January 6.

Let’s take each of these categories in turn.

For category 1, the Project reasons that being close to Trump is its own unpardonable sin, a form of guilt by association. That’s as un-American as it gets.

Next, as to alternate electors: In the 1960 presidential election between Nixon and Kennedy, there were alternate Democratic Hawaii electors for Senator Kennedy who eventually became the actual electors, so lining up alternative electors to be ready for such an opportunity can’t be inherently illegal or unethical.

And finally, while a lawyer who participated in violence at the Capitol on January 6 is clearly a proper subject of a bar investigation and stern discipline, the idea that a lawyer’s mere presence at the January 6 protest is unethical is the stuff of a banana republic. Is every left-leaning lawyer who protested George Floyd’s death to be rounded up and disbarred because Antifa members assaulted a courthouse in Portland or burned down a police station in Minneapolis?

Is at Least One Other Entity Cooperating With Project 65?

The public announcement of Project 65’s kickoff was followed just a few weeks ago by a public announcement that the Texas Bar was considering allegations of unethical conduct filed against the Lone Star State’s Attorney General, Ken Paxton.

According to the Washington Examiner, AG Paxton is under fire for suing to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a suit that 17 other state AGs eventually joined him in. Just pause and let that sink in. The notion that 18 state attorneys general were all plotting together in a back room to file unethical, disbarment-worthy litigation shouldn’t be a theory that could even get off the ground of its own weight.

This is a naked, cynical attempt to weaponize the bar rules in the service of politics. The very legitimacy of the legal bar depends on not allowing such a weaponization.

Instead of reflecting unbiased application of ethics rules, the attack on Paxton’s bar license really boils down to the claim it is beyond the pale to contradict the regime’s “Big Lie” refrain. This refrain holds that the 2020 election was perfect, no matter what evidence has emerged or will emerge in the future.

There is no attorney ethics rule that mandates agreement with Democrat media narratives, however often they are repeated. It is that fact Brock and his ilk seek to change.

Democrats don’t like that Paxton courageously questioned whether the 2020 presidential election was aboveboard. But Paxton and his 17 fellow state AGs elected by the people were fully entitled to argue that the 2020 election was not conducted in accord with the Constitution. 

Specifically, the Presidential Electors Clause (Article II, Section 1, Clause 2) requires such electors to be appointed in the manner determined by state legislatures. Not by state governors, not by state courts, and not by state administrative agencies making last-minute changes in voting law under the cover of COVID-19 paranoia.

The Supreme Court refused to take up Paxton’s case by a 7-2 vote, but the case was surely colorable and raised fair-minded arguments. Moreover, the Supreme Court majority did not enshrine the “Big Lie” narrative in law. They simply held that Texas lacked constitutional standing. Nothing more.

The complaint against AG Paxton was filed not by Project 65 but by a different group called Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD). LDAD’s Chairman is a past litigation opponent of mine, former Democrat AG of Massachusetts (and noisy proponent of socialist climate change regulations) Scott Harshbarger.

Other LDAD members include Lucien Wulsin, Founder and Director of Insure the Uninsured Project, and Martha Barnett, former chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates (for more on the ABA’s own ideological drift, see Revolver’s writeup here). They are leftists at the vanguard of leftist causes.

Are LDAD and Project 65 working together? I certainly can’t prove it. But I will go out on a limb and predict that at some point in the future, it will likely come out that they are closely aligned and coordinated.

The Texas Bar should make short work of the complaint against AG Paxton, but that situation will have to be monitored carefully. As Paxton himself noted, the lawsuit seems strategically (and politically) timed: “They’ve intentionally waited a year and a half after my Supreme Court challenge—right in the middle of an election—to do it… Worse, they announced their plans on the very first day of my election against George P. Bush—Biden’s and the Democrats’ preferred candidate for Attorney General.” How convenient.

Legal Defenses to the Project 65 Offensive

Fortunately, legal defenses to Project 65 are easy to come up with.

First, Project 65’s goals run afoul of the First Amendment’s Petition Clause, which guarantees citizens the right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Such petitions often come in the form of lawsuits. Frivolous lawsuits can be penalized, but the standards for this are supposed to be clear-cut and limited.

Judges can discipline lawyers for making factual claims that it can be proven they knew were false at the time. Lawyers who make legal arguments that flatly contradict binding legal precedent can be taken to the woodshed as well (though lawyers can always argue that case law ought to be changed as well).

On the other hand, filing lawsuits supported by the sworn testimony of poll workers who saw various forms of shenanigans is categorically the exact sort of activity protected by the right to petition. So is arguing that last-minute bureaucratic changes to election laws violated Article II of the Constitution. And so is complaining about the election rigging enabled by Mark Zuckerberg’s Zuckerbucks.

Marc Elias may not like to have to run to and fro defending against such suits, but there is nothing illegitimate about them simply because lawyers for President Trump filed the cases.

Second, forming an organized legal group to hound lawyers who happened to serve as advocates for Republican causes suggests a conspiracy to violate the civil rights of those lawyers’ clients, as well as the civil rights of those lawyers themselves.

Civil rights laws are not the exclusive playthings of the Democratic Party. Free expression, free political association, access to the legal counsel of one’s choice—these are all foundational rights that a group of dark money-funded lawyers associated with David Brock should not be able to rip away or chase away through fear and the politics of cancelation.

Third, fire can be fought with fire. And to mix the metaphor, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Every lawyer who is faced with the naked lawfare of Project 65 should file a counter-complaint to the bar where a Project 65 complainant is a member. All lawyers should have much better things to do than to try to deck their opponents, aiming to knock them out in a bar-grievance process resembling Fight Club.

In antitrust law, there is a form of anticompetitive conduct known as “raising rivals’ costs.” Raising the costs of legal rivals is not a proper endeavor in the American legal tradition anymore than it is fair play in business as to economic competitors.

Brock is openly bragging that his plan is to starve conservatives of legal talent. His words are a self-indictment of monument proportions. His tactic should be shunned and the lawyers using it are the ones who deserve discipline.

Countering Project 65

So, what should be done to block or blunt the Project 65 dagger aimed at the heart of American lawyering? I propose a plan with three parts:

First, we need to fund, on a dollar-per-dollar basis, a Project 65 counterproject. If left unchecked, then at the least Project 65 will burden and frighten any lawyer willing to take on Republican clients. At its worst, Project 65 will go on to create lasting structural and systemic change in the American legal system.

Canceling Trump-adjacent lawyers is just Brock’s starting point.

The end goal is to create a reality where left-wing ideology and the legal system are one and the same.

If America’s businessmen and right-leaning donors aren’t willing to step up now and fund a counter-Project of their own, then they should not be surprised if the day comes where they can’t get a lawyer either.

Whenever Project 65 shows up with a proposal to change the bar rules to tilt the playing field against one sort of party, the Project 65 counterproject must appear as well to file rulemaking comments aimed at keeping the bar rules neutral and apolitical.

Personal knowledge should be required for bar authorities to open an investigation into any Project 65 complaint. Typically, bar complaints are filed, for instance, by wronged clients alleging a lawyer absconded with money out of a trust account or that a lawyer has not worked diligently enough on their case.

By contrast, Joe Officious Intermeddler shouldn’t be able to read a Washington Post article or search state and federal election lawsuit databases and gin up carbon-copy complaints about the conduct of Trump-hired lawyers they have had no personal contact with.

Any lawyer who participates in drafting a Project 65 bar complaint should be required, under penalty of perjury, to disclose his identity to the bar authorities where he or she files such a complaint. And the drafters of “model” bar complaints that Project 65 takes off the shelf to adapt to launch against any single lawyer should similarly not be allowed to hide in the shadows.

Bar disciplinary authorities should reaffirm their traditional role of being reactive. They exist to investigate complaints filed by clients, and to decide whether lawyers already convicted of crimes or sanctioned by judges should also face further discipline. As John Adams once said: “Go[ ] not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.” State and local bars should not expend their attention and resources on a Project 65 witch hunt to make life hell for conservative lawyers who stood up against the current ruling regime.


The Prussian military theorist Von Clausewitz is famous for his dictum that “war is the continuation of policy by other means.” Project 65 seeks to invert that: To turn politics into just another mode of all-out warfare. Attacking the dignity of the bar will be the death knell of our Anglo-American legal system and for fair, competitive politics more generally.

Project 65’s lawsuits are an assault on the principle of equal protection under the law and on the Constitution’s Petition Clause. This is a fight that patriotic Americans must win, or the United States will just be the latest example of a republic decayed into a phony, failed oligarchy.

Mr. Clark is the former Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General of the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Justice Department (2018-2021). From 2020-2021, he was also named and simultaneously served as the former Acting Assistant Attorney General of DOJ’s Civil Division (2020-2021). Mr. Clark, unfortunately, is still mired in a subpoena fight with the House’s January 6 Select Committee. 


High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods

A dark money group with ties to Democratic Party heavyweights will spend millions this year to expose and try to disbar more than 100 lawyers who worked on Donald Trump’s post-election lawsuits, people involved with the effort tell Axios.

Why it matters: The 65 Project plans to begin filing complaints this week and will air ads in battleground states. It hopes to deter right-wing legal talent from signing on to any future GOP efforts to overturn elections — including the midterms or 2024.

    • The group takes its name from a count of lawsuits that sought to invalidate the 2020 results.

Details: David Brock, who founded Media Matters for America and the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century and is a Hillary Clinton ally and prolific fundraiser for Democrats, is advising the group.

    • Advisory board members include former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); and Paul Rosenzweig, a conservative and member of the Federalist Society who was former senior counsel for Ken Starr’s Clinton-era Whitewater investigation and served in George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security.

    • Former Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham; and Roberta Ramo, the first woman to serve as president of the American Bar Association, are also members.

    • The project was devised by Melissa Moss, a Democratic consultant and former senior Clinton administration official.

The other side: Some of the lawyers targeted describe the tactics as naked political intimidation.

    • “This move is nothing more than a desperate attempt by leftist hacks and mercenaries…” Paul Davis, a Texas attorney targeted for his presence at the Capitol on January 6, wrote in an email to Axios.

    • He described an effort “…to neutralize anyone on the right with the ability to stand in the way of the left’s efforts to hide malfeasance in the 2020 elections and to clear the path for a repeat of similar malfeasance in the 2022 mid-terms.”

How it works: The 65 Project is targeting 111 attorneys in 26 states who were involved to some degree in efforts to challenge or reverse 2020 election results. They include lawyers at large national law firms with many partners and clients and lawyers at smaller, regional firms.

    • It will air ads in battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

    • It also will push the ABA and every state bar association to codify rules barring certain election challenges and adopt model language stating that “fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results violate the ethical duties lawyers must abide by.”

    • It plans to spend about $2.5 million in its first year and will operate through an existing nonprofit called Law Works.

Brock told Axios in an interview that the idea is to “not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints, but shame them and make them toxic in their communities and in their firms.”

    • “I think the littler fish are probably more vulnerable to what we’re doing,” Brock said. “You’re threatening their livelihood. And, you know, they’ve got reputations in their local communities.”

What they’re saying: “With great power comes great responsibility. Lawyers have a special role in and special obligation to society,” Rosenzweig told Axios in an email.

    • “It is all the worse, then, when they use their special position to attack the foundations of the rule of law.”

The group has three categories of targets, according to plans reviewed by Axios.

    • Trump’s legal inner circle, including lawyers such as campaign hands Jenna Ellis and Boris Epshteyn and post-election lawyers like Sidney Powell and Joe DiGenova.

    • Lawyers who signed on as “alternate electors,” who planned to submit their names to the Electoral College in lieu of legitimate elector slates if Trump-aligned legal challenges succeeded.

    • Licensed attorneys who participated in or were present at the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Between the lines: Some of the attorney targets already have been hit with bar complaints. One going after Georgia attorney Brad Carver for his role as an alternate elector was dismissed for lack of evidence. Carver, in an email to Axios, reiterated his position that his involvement was legally appropriate.

    • But The 65 Project is focused on starving any future efforts of legal talent as well as focusing on 2020.

    • “This is mostly important for the deterrent effect that it can bring so that you can kill the pool of available legal talent going forward,” according to a person involved with the effort, who asked to remain anonymous.

Cleta Mitchell, who resigned from Foley & Lardner as she assisted the Trump campaign’s post-election legal efforts, characterized The 65 Project’s effort as hypocritical.

    • “I’m betting Marc Elias isn’t on the list,” she said in a text message, linking to a story about the Democratic attorney’s challenge to the results of a House race in Iowa last year and one about his claims of voting machine “irregularities” in another in New York.

    • “Ok for Dem lawyers to file election challenges. Of course.”

John Eastman, who crafted a legal memo detailing Trump’s options for overturning the election, already is facing a bar complaint in California.

    • He “expects the Bar’s investigation into these matters will fully exonerate him from any charges,” his attorney said in an emailed statement.

    • “As was his duty as an attorney, Dr. Eastman zealously represented his client, comprehensively exploring legal and constitutional means to advance his client’s interests.”

3- Breitbart  

David Brock Launches ‘Dark Money’ Effort to Disbar, Shame, Impoverish Trump Election Lawyers

Left-wing ideologue David Brock has launched a “dark money” effort to disbar, publicly shame, and impoverish more than 100 lawyers who participated in filing post-election legal challenges to the 2020 presidential election results.

Axios reported Monday that the effort, named the “65 Project” because of the number of post-election lawsuits, is funded by anonymous donors and aims to discourage lawyers from representing Republican clients in any future election challenges.

Axios noted:

A dark money group with ties to Democratic Party heavyweights will spend millions this year to expose and try to disbar more than 100 lawyers who worked on Donald Trump’s post-election lawsuits, people involved with the effort tell Axios.

Why it matters: The 65 Project plans to begin filing complaints this week and will air ads in battleground states. It hopes to deter right-wing legal talent from signing on to any future GOP efforts to overturn elections — including the midterms or 2024.

Brock told Axios in an interview that the idea is to “not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints, but shame them and make them toxic in their communities and in their firms.”


    • “I think the littler fish are probably more vulnerable to what we’re doing,” Brock said. “You’re threatening their livelihood. And, you know, they’ve got reputations in their local communities.”

Brock made no attempt to hide the fact that he is trying to deprive his targets of their ability to earn a living, and that he is picking on smaller targets, simply because they represented an opposing side in legitimate filings in an election dispute.

In 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden boasted that his campaign had recruited 600 lawyers to file post-election challenges. One of the key lawyers, Marc Elias, was behind the 2016 “Russia collusion” hoax, but nevertheless led Democratic legal efforts.

Axios notes further that the 65 Project is focused on three groups of lawyers: those who represented Trump, those who were “alternate electors,” and those who were present at the January 6, 2021 protest and riot, whether or not they broke the law.

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