This past weekend, the Washington Post published a mammoth investigation into the before, during, and after of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack. “[T]he insurrection was not a spontaneous act nor an isolated event,” wrote the reporters. “It was a battle in a broader war over the truth and over the future of American democracy.”
The Post’s report is based on hundreds of interviews, court documents, and video and audio clips, and also cites several documents uncovered by American Oversight in our ongoing investigation of the riot. You can read more here about those documents, which include emails sent the week before by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann regarding efforts to undermine the 2020 election, as well as Secret Service alerts from the day of the attack.
Of course, the “after” of the attack is not yet over, as bogus election investigations remain a focus of the movement to restrict voting based on false allegations of widespread fraud. This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for more restrictions as well as the creation of a new law enforcement agency to investigate election irregularities. And Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has launched an investigation of the 2020 election, despite the recently completed “audit” of Maricopa County ballots instigated by Fann and a partisan majority in the state Senate.
This week, American Oversight obtained new records that suggest the “audit” cost nearly $9 million through Sept. 15 — far more than the previously reported $5.7 million that had been raised by outside groups, and far, far more than the $150,000 the Senate had contributed (though the document says that the Senate’s portion was just $50,000).
- There are yet more “audit”-related records that the Senate has still failed to produce despite court orders. During a hearing in our lawsuit this week, the judge denied the Senate’s request for a stay on a recent order to produce records it had argued were subject to legislative privilege.
- The judge also set a hearing for Dec. 2 to address whether the court should hold the Senate in contempt for failing to release records in the custody of lead “audit” contractor Cyber Ninjas.
On Friday, American Oversight has another hearing, this one in our lawsuit against the Wisconsin Assembly and Speaker Robin Vos for records from Vos’ own partisan election investigation, which is being led by attorney Michael Gableman.
- Gableman has been keeping secret many details of the investigation, including the identities of several people he has hired at taxpayer expense. The mysterious “Carol M.” was revealed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to be attorney Carol Matheis, who is active with the conservative Federalist Society. But a Gableman aide said they were “still trying to keep the names of the other people in the office non-disclosed as long as possible.”
- Several Republican lawmakers have called for the resignations of members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission following last week’s press conference by the sheriff of Racine County, who accused five commissioners of having committed felonies by telling election clerks to mail absentee ballots to nursing homes during the pandemic, instead of visiting in person. The commission’s administrator, Meagan Wolfe, whom Vos has called upon to step down, said the claims were “partisan politics at its worst.”
- Separately, some commission members are reportedly trying to oust Commissioner Robert Spindell for his participation in a scheme last December by state Republicans to assemble an alternate slate of presidential electors. Spindell was one of 10 fake pro-Trump “electors” who added their names to a phony electoral vote certificate that was submitted to Congress.
Here are some headlines from around the country related to “audits” and other efforts to cast doubt on election integrity:
- Cyber Ninjas was never required to deliver definitive report on election results, contract shows (Arizona Republic)
- Utah lawmaker resigns after calling for ‘forensic’ audit of Utah election (KSL TV)
- GOP candidate claims Michael Flynn hoped to blackmail U.S. officials into pro-Trump ‘audits’ (Salon)
- Michigan State Police investigate missing voting equipment after QAnon-posting clerk stripped of duties (Detroit Metro Times)
- Embattled election chief in Fulton County, Georgia, resigns (CNN)
- ‘An unprecedented situation’: Loose ends remain in Fulton County, Pa., election review (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)
On the Records
(More) Trump Properties Spending
According to records we obtained, which were reported on by Forbes’ Zach Everson, in 2018 and 2019 the FBI spent $2,600 for six stays at Trump National Doral, the former president’s Florida resort. For each of the stays, the FBI paid Doral the maximum the government allowed, with nightly rates ranging from $119 to $176. A reminder: In 2019, Eric Trump said the Trump Organization only charged taxpayers “like 50 bucks” a night for those stays.
Jan. 6 Insurrection
We asked the Department of the Interior for whistleblower complaints or dissent memos submitted around the time of the Capitol attack. We received nine pages, but all the relevant information is redacted.
Other Stories We’re Following
The Jan. 6 Attack
- At least 6 Republicans who were at the Jan. 6 rally just got elected to office (HuffPost)
- Court filing lists documents Trump seeks to withhold from Jan. 6 inquiry (New York Times)
- Trump campaign payments for ‘command centers’ at D.C. hotels could undermine executive privilege claim in Jan. 6 investigation (Washington Post)
- Jan. 6 committee is losing patience with Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows (CNN)
- During Jan. 6 riot, Trump attorney told Pence team the vice president’s actions caused attack on Capitol (Washington Post)
- How Trump’s D.C. hotel cashed in on the Jan. 6 riot (Forbes)
The Coronavirus Pandemic
- CDC endorses first Covid-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 (Politico)
- America has lost the plot on Covid (Atlantic)
- How Puerto Rico achieved the highest vaccination rate in the U.S. — without a political fight (Time)
- These billionaires received taxpayer-funded stimulus checks during the pandemic (ProPublica)
- The official global virus death toll has passed 5 million. The full count is undoubtedly higher. (New York Times)
- Here’s why rapid Covid tests are so expensive and hard to find (ProPublica)
- Division among Biden appointees led U.S. to embrace Trump-era border policies (CBS News)
- At Saudi investment conference, Trump allies remain front and center (New York Times)
- Authorities arrest analyst who contributed to Steele dossier (New York Times)
- Dozens of traumatized Afghan kids struggle inside a shelter that’s ill-equipped to care for them (ProPublica)
- Forced relocation left Native Americans more exposed to climate threats, data show (New York Times)
- Oil executives grilled over industry’s role in climate disinformation (New York Times)
- Poison in the air: The EPA allows polluters to turn neighborhoods into ‘sacrifice zones’ where residents breathe carcinogens (ProPublica)
- Biden proposes new rules to cut climate-warming methane emissions (NPR)
In the States
- Mequon-Thiensville recall fails to unseat any school board members after high-spending race with national attention (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- South Dakota ethics board wants more information on Noem (Associated Press)
- In Texas, dying in jail is ‘par for the course’ (Texas Observer)
- Montana commission delays choosing congressional districts (Associated Press)
- Ohio GOP lawmakers introduce Texas-style abortion ban bill (Cleveland.com)
- Montana’s governor nixed a kids’ vaccine campaign, so health officials plan their own (Kaiser Health News)
- University of Florida bars faculty from testifying in voting rights lawsuit against DeSantis administration (Washington Post)
- U. of Florida doctor says administrators blocked him from participating in lawsuits about masking (Chronicle of Higher Education)