American Oversight’s fight for records from various election reviews isn’t just about transparency — it’s also about exposing the blatantly partisan and dangerously anti-democratic motivations behind those sham investigations.
Because as the news this week bears out, those same efforts to reverse the 2020 election results have still, a year and half later, not dissipated.
- On Monday, ABC News reported that during a meeting with Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos just last month, Trump-allied attorney John Eastman pressured Vos to take the (legally impossible) action of decertifying Wisconsin’s 2020 election results.
- Recently, a federal judge had ordered Eastman — the author of legal memos outlining a scheme that had called for former Vice President Pence to reject the 2020 electors from several states — to turn over documents to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
- Also present at the meeting was election-denier and activist Jefferson Davis, who has worked closely with those involved in the partisan election investigation being led by Michael Gableman in Wisconsin.
- While Vos has repeated that “decertification” is not on the table, Gableman himself has recommended that lawmakers consider the extreme (and again, legally impossible) measure.
Previously deleted records that were recently released by Vos’ office in response to American Oversight’s litigation include communications with prominent supporters of the stolen-election lie, as well as records related to Gableman’s contract extensions.
- Late last week, two days after those records had been released, Vos’ counsel filed a motion asking the court to keep the documents private — yet another attempt to delay and avoid transparency.
- On Tuesday, American Oversight filed a brief opposing Vos’ meritless and flawed motion.
- In another lawsuit, American Oversight obtained documents that include previously unseen subcontract agreements between Gableman’s Office of Special Counsel and various individuals involved in the probe.
Among the seemingly countless conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election are those concerning various baseless claims about voting machines. American Oversight recently obtained records revealing that in the weeks after the election, Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, a Trump ally, asked federal cybersecurity officials to audit voting machines in his home state.
- Another email shows Phil Waldron, a prominent Big Lie supporter who assisted in Trump allies’ efforts to overturn the election, reached out to the top lawyer at DHS in late December 2020 to share a memorandum.
- In reporting on the documents, Politico wrote that the emails “show Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his allies’ attempts to get the federal government to help them reverse election results went even broader than previously known.”
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Last week’s high-profile “Gridiron Dinner,” now deemed a superspreader event that resulted in more than 70 people testing positive for Covid-19, mirrors the climbing case numbers in other parts of the country, particularly in the Northeast. As of writing, case counts nationwide are rising. The national daily average for hospitalizations is just under 14,700, and deaths are at about 500 a day.
As home tests become more available and public testing sites close due to lack of funding, many experts say that the current rise in cases is significantly undercounted. There are also gaps in hospitalization data, in part because of changing metrics: For example, New Hampshire’s health department has shifted to only reporting Covid-19 hospitalizations of those taking certain drug therapies.
- Philadelphia is the first big city to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in response to rising cases. While other cities have not followed suit, some college campuses are also bringing back their indoor mask mandates.
- Big cities like Manhattan are being forced to adapt as more companies shift to remote-first work, workers spend less on businesses near their offices, and the real estate tax base declines.
- Records show that California cities spent large sums of pandemic relief money from the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan on law enforcement.
On the Records
Trump Administration Pre-Election Trips
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, multiple Trump administration officials took taxpayer-funded trips to swing states that were criticized for potentially violating the Hatch Act. Documents obtained by American Oversight from the Department of the Interior indicate that the agency spent more than $4,000 on former Secretary David Bernhardt’s trips to Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, and New Mexico in September and October 2020.
- Previously, we obtained records showing that trips taken by acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf around the same time cost more than $220,000, and trips taken by former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and former Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia totaled nearly $60,000.
Trump Administration Political Control Over Fauci Media Appearances
Records we obtained appear to further support reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci had been directed to “stand down” and to cancel television appearances during the early weeks of the pandemic. For example, in March 2020, a Fox Business employee sent a request for the director of the National Institutes of Health “to talk during our 8 PM ET hour.” Katie Miller, then Pence’s press secretary, told an HHS aide: “No to Fauci. Trying to get someone else.” Read more on Twitter.
Other Stories We’re Following
Voting Rights and Election Administration
The Jan. 6 Investigation
- ‘We need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend.’ What the Meadows texts reveal about how two Trump congressional allies lobbied the White House to overturn the election (CNN)
- In conference call before riot, a plea to ‘descend on the Capitol’ (New York Times)
- Pro-Trump rally planner is cooperating in Justice Dept.’s Jan. 6 inquiry (New York Times)
- Proud Boys leader admits plan to storm Capitol, will testify against others (Washington Post)
- Two Trump White House lawyers meet with Jan. 6 investigators (New York Times)
- Jan. 6 panel presses Stephen Miller on whether Trump sought to incite crowd (New York Times)
- January 6 committee to soon receive new documents from National Archives (CNN)
- ‘I had to do something to gain his respect’: January 6 defendant testifies he believed Trump sent him to attack on U.S. Capitol (CNN)
Election Reviews and the Big Lie
- Ousted Macomb County GOP chair: ‘Now, we can go after these people’ (Detroit News)
- The dominant theme at Colorado Republicans’ state assembly: election conspiracies (Colorado Sun)
- Firm involved in Gableman election probe files complaints with Wisconsin Elections Commission (Wisconsin State Journal)
- First bus carrying migrants arrives in Washington, D.C., from Texas under Abbott’s new controversial plan (Texas Tribune)
- McKinsey opened a door in its firewall between pharma clients and regulators (New York Times)
- DOJ rebuffs Democrats’ request for inventory of Trump’s boxes (Washington Post)
- Before giving billions to Jared Kushner, Saudi investment fund had big doubts (New York Times)
- How the FDA’s food division fails to regulate health and safety hazards (Politico)
- U.S. Park Police, Secret Service agree to change policies to settle Black Lives Matter, protesters’ lawsuits (USA Today)
- Mark Zuckerberg ends election grants (New York Times)
In the States
- South Dakota attorney general Jason Ravnsborg impeached over fatal crash (CBS News)
- Oklahoma governor signs near-total ban on abortion into law (CNN)
- DeSantis to push through new Florida map that will bring big GOP gains (Politico)
- Kansas Gov. Kelly signs ‘sanctuary city’ bill, dealing harsh blow to immigration activists (KCUR Kansas City)
- New York lieutenant governor resigns after being charged with bribery, fraud (NPR)
- Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press sue, accusing Youngkin of violating FOIA law (Virginian-Pilot)
- White House, truckers blast Texas as inspections snarl Mexico traffic (Washington Post)
- Arizona Democrats ask Brnovich to investigate redistricting that helped 3 GOP incumbents (Arizona Republic)
- With DeSantis’ signature, Florida bans most abortions after 15 weeks (Miami Herald)