In the Documents: Patrick Byrne’s Continued Involvement in Election-Denying Efforts

Patrick Byrne, the prominent election denier and former CEO of, was a major figure in the Tuesday hearing of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, and is expected to meet with the committee on Friday. 

Byrne was one of the outside advisers, along with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, present at the now-infamous “unhinged” Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, that took place before Trump tweeted that his supporters should attend a “wild” protest on Jan. 6. During the meeting, Byrne and the other outside advisers pressed the idea that Trump could name Powell as a special counsel investigating voter fraud and use the National Guard to seize voting machines, with the aim of overturning Trump’s election loss. 

But that wasn’t the end of Byrne’s efforts to undermine faith in U.S. democracy. He has continued to spread false claims of a stolen election, even financing a film asserting that the 2020 election was rife with voter fraud.

Byrne’s nonprofit, the America Project, played a major role in funding the Arizona Senate’s blatantly partisan and conspiracy-theory-fueled “audit” of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. According to documents obtained by American Oversight, by September 2021 his group was the election review’s single-largest funder and had contributed $3.25 million to the effort; Byrne said that he personally donated most of that amount. 

Staff of the America Project were copied on routine emails about scheduling shifts for ballot counting, suggesting they may have played an operational role in the “audit” and raising questions about the group’s level of influence. In May 2021, Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward asked Senate President Karen Fann “if the Byrne group could be helping to fund the current vetting contractor?” Additionally, someone named Mike Roman, the same name as that of the director of the Trump campaign’s Election Day operations and an executive in the America Project’s “Fund the Audit” effort, was included on a list of employees retained by “audit” subcontractor Wake TSI, the firm that led the hand count of ballots until mid-May 2021.

Another individual affiliated with the America Project, Todd Sanders, communicated with Doug Logan, the CEO of lead “audit” contractor Cyber Ninjas, and helped him review grant applications for another funder called America’s Future, whose board chair is former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. Sanders also appears to have been involved in similar efforts in New Hampshire: On March 22, 2021, it appears he was looped into a planned call with Secretary of State Bill Gardner, conservative activist Ken Eyring, Russ Ramsland, and Phil Waldron. Waldron worked with Ramsland’s Allied Security Operations Group, a firm that was almost hired for the “audit,” and was involved in election-undermining efforts. 

Recently, American Oversight also obtained text messages — reported on by the Dallas Observer — from Texas Secretary of State John Scott’s office that reveal that Scott had met with Byrne in December 2021. Byrne texted Scott on Dec. 14 to share a video of his remarks at a conservative convention and to ask for a meeting, explaining that state Sen. Angela Paxton (who is married to Attorney General Ken Paxton) had provided him Scott’s contact information. Scott and Byrne planned to meet the following day.