American Oversight is investigating the role of state and local government officials in the Jan. 6 protest that turned into a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol — including both the participation of individuals occupying government positions as well as the larger political infrastructure that organized and promoted the day’s events.
One of the many groups reportedly involved in promoting the “March to Save America” was the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), the political and fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). Following the Capitol invasion, the investigative organization Documented reported on audio it had obtained of a robocall message sent out by RLDF the day before the attack, encouraging people to turn out for the march. Archived copies of the “March To Save America” website also point to RLDF’s involvement.
“I’m calling for the Rule of Law Defense Fund with an important message,” the call started, before describing plans for the crowd to march from a park near the White House to the Capitol at 1 p.m. to “call on Congress to stop the steal.”
“We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections,“ the message continued. It then promoted the march’s website, before ending with a reminder that the call was “paid for and authorized by the Rule of Law Defense Fund.”
That website, MarchtoSaveAmerica.com, is now defunct, but an Internet Archive cache from the early morning of Jan. 3 shows RAGA among a list of partnering organizations. Later that day, RAGA appears to have been swapped out for RLDF.
Despite this evidence, the organizations quickly sought to distance themselves from the violent protest. In a statement to the Alabama Political Reporter on Jan. 7, then-RAGA Executive Director Adam Piper condemned the violence and said that RAGA and RLDF “had no involvement in the planning, sponsoring, or the organization” of the protest.
“No Republican AG authorized the staff’s decision to amplify a colleague speaking at the rally,” Piper added. Although the referenced colleague isn’t named, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — a member of RAGA who led the failed lawsuit seeking to undermine the 2020 election results — spoke at the protest.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who leads RLDF, said on Jan. 8 that he was investigating “unauthorized” staff actions surrounding the protest. In a Washington Post report on Jan. 11, several state attorneys general said they were unaware of the robocalls. Piper resigned days later.
American Oversight is using open records requests to attorney general offices in multiple states — including Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky and Florida — to investigate who knew about the calls or about the groups’ support for what would turn out to be a deadly and seditious attack.