Top GOP ‘election integrity’ lawyer charged in Arizona fake elector scheme

Republished from Kentucky Lantern


Less than a week after the Republican National Committee unveiled a “historic” new program to monitor the polls for fraud, a top lawyer with the committee was among those indicted for an alleged scheme to use false fraud claims to overturn the results of Arizona’s presidential election.

Indeed, the lawyer, RNC senior counsel for election integrity Christina Bobb, was scheduled to appear April 25 at an online meeting to recruit activists for the GOP’s vote-watching effort, though she didn’t show up. The meeting was organized by fringe conspiracy theorists who, like Bobb, have helped spread lies about illegal voting.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced the indictments on April 24 against 18 people, seven of whose names are redacted. Multiple news organizations have used details in the indictment to identify Bobb and the other six. Mayes on Friday confirmed Bobb’s indictment.

The confluence of events involving Bobb, the RNC and a loose network of anti-fraud activists underscores how the Trump-controlled GOP appears to be laying the groundwork to contest this year’s election using the same false claims about illegal voting — and even some of the same key figures — as it did in 2020.

Asked for comment on Bobb’s reported indictment and whether she remained employed by the RNC, an RNC spokesperson declined to answer on the record.

Bobb did not respond to an inquiry about her failure to appear at the April 25 event.

GOP’s ‘historic’ vote-monitoring program

The Arizona indictments came less than a week after the Trump campaign and the RNC announced a “historic, 100,000 person strong” effort to closely monitor the voting process, calling it, “the most extensive and monumental election integrity program in the nation’s history.”

“Whenever a ballot is being cast or counted, Republican poll watchers will be observing the process and reporting any irregularity,” the RNC declared in a press release.

The committee called the initiative “an historic collaboration between the RNC, the Trump Campaign, and passionate grassroots coalitions who are deeply invested in fighting voter fraud.” That appeared to be a reference to the party’s outreach to anti-fraud activists like those at Thursday’s meeting — many of whom have bought in to lies about the 2020 election.

Multiple lawsuits found no evidence of systematic or widespread fraud in 2020.

The RNC’s vote-monitoring effort has been championed by Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, who took over as RNC co-chair in late February. Bobb was announced as an election integrity lawyer at the RNC soon afterward.

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2024.

Lara Trump warned in an April 23 interview that the vote-monitoring program will include “people who can physically handle ballots” at polling places on Election Day. The rules for partisan poll watchers differ from state to state.

17 charged in fake electors plot

Bobb’s failure to attend Thursday’s online meeting, after organizers had promoted her appearance in advance, may have been because she has more urgent matters on her mind.

The indictments filed in Arizona allege a plot to use fake electors to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential vote.

The 11 people named in the indictment are the Arizona fake electors themselves, all Trump allies. The other seven people, whose names are redacted, have been identified by news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, as Bobb, as well as Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Mike Roman and Boris Epshteyn.

One of the seven, the indictment says, “was an attorney for the Trump Campaign” and “made false claims of widespread election fraud in Arizona and in six other states.” That person also “encouraged the Arizona Legislature to change the outcome of the election,” and “encouraged (Vice President Mike) Pence to accept the false Arizona Republican electors’ votes on January 6, 2021,” according to the indictment.

Bobb joined the Trump campaign as a lawyer in the aftermath of the 2020 vote, and was among the campaign officials, led by Giuliani, who organized a scheme to use false fraud claims as justification for submitting fake electors in seven states Trump lost, including Arizona, CNN has reported.

Bobb also tweeted on January 6, 2021: “@VP @Mike_Pence can solve this now by sending it back to the legislators.”

The indictment lists Trump — unnamed but described as “a former president of the United States who spread false claims of election fraud following the 2020 election” — as an unindicted co-conspirator.

The indictment alleges that as part of the scheme, the fake electors voted for Trump to receive Arizona’s electoral votes, “falsely claiming to be the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States from the State of Arizona.”

“Defendants deceived the citizens of Arizona by falsely claiming that those votes were contingent only on a legal challenge that would change the outcome of the election,” the indictment continues. “In reality, Defendants intended that their false votes for Trump-Pence would encourage Pence to reject the Biden-Harris votes on January 6, 2021, regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge.”

RNC courts conspiracy theorists, election deniers

The meeting at which Bobb was scheduled to appear Thursday was organized by two Florida activists with ties to leading election deniers, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and included hundreds of grassroots anti-fraud activists from across the country.

It follows a similar April 4 event, at which the director of the RNC’s election integrity program, Christina Norton, told activists how to get involved with the party’s vote-monitoring program. States Newsroom attended both virtual meetings.

The April 25 meeting featured a parade of speakers, including the former Democratic consultant Naomi Wolf, making claims about illegal voting in 2020 and 2022, predicting that this year’s vote will be similarly rigged, and rallying supporters to take action.

“The current situation is that President Trump will once again win the presidential election just as he did in 2020,” said one speaker, Greg Stenstrom, a Pennsylvania-based conspiracy theorist who co-authored the book “The Parallel Election: A Blueprint for Deception,” which alleged massive fraud in that state’s 2020 vote.

“But it will be taken from him, and all of us, again, unless we restore fair and honest elections in the short time we have remaining before November. He cannot hold onto the presidency unless we act.”

In place of a live appearance by Bobb, Steve Stern, an organizer of the call, played an interview he’d conducted recently with her for his podcast.

In the interview, Stern asked Bobb what could be done about President Joe Biden’s plan to add “a million illegal aliens” to the voter rolls. (There is no evidence that Biden has such a plan, despite frequent similar claims by the far right.)

Bobb agreed there is a “concerted effort to empower the illegals to cast ballots,” adding: “It’s a very, very, serious issue this time around, and it’s something that we’re looking into … Is it something that law enforcement needs to handle, because there could potentially be a criminal component to it?”

“As far as illegals voting,” Bobb continued, “once they have registered, it’s very hard to undo that process. Because the registration is presumed valid.”

Studies have consistently shown that the amount of voting by non-citizens is minuscule. A 2017 Brennan Center analysis found that suspected — not proven — votes by non-citizens accounted for just 0.0001 percent of all votes cast in the 2016 election.

Other connections

In addition to these two meetings, there have been other recent instances of RNC staff courting right-wing activists who have spread election disinformation.

Bobb spoke last month with the far-right podcaster Breanna Morello. And she joined a recent conference call with several Trump-allied groups that have promoted lies about 2020, the Guardian reported.

Both the April 25 and April 4 meetings were organized by Stern and Raj Doraisamy, two far-right Florida activists and Lindell allies who have helped spread false claims about illegal voting.

Last month, Stern spoke with Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser, to promote the April 4 meeting. “We have so many illegal aliens in this country,” Stern said. “They want to vote. We gotta stop them.”

Doraisamy was reportedly outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and went on to found a group, Defend Florida, that went door to door to gather thousands of “affidavits” from Floridians in an effort to show that the state’s 2020 election was corrupted by massive fraud.

At a 2022 event organized by the group, Doraisamy thanked Lindell for his help with the door-to-door effort.

Also speaking at the April 25 meeting call was Joe Hoft, whose Gateway Pundit website, co-founded with Hoft’s brother Jim, has been a key vector for the spread of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, the covid vaccine, and more.

Joe Hoft’s self-published book, “The Steal,”  is described this way on its Google Books page: “It’s early in the morning of November 4th, President Trump was way ahead in the swing states, but he warned of 4am ballot drops. He was right again. When Americans woke up later that morning, the election had been stolen.”

Another speaker at the meeting, Jay Valentine, used initial funding from Lindell to create voter data monitoring software.

According to documents obtained by the progressive group American Oversight, Valentine has worked closely with Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, a key figure in the effort to overturn the 2020 election, to convince lawmakers in Wisconsin and other states to use his “fractal programming technology” to uncover mass fraud.

“Voter fraud is a nationwide crime perpetrated locally, mostly by Democrats,” Valentine has written separately, promoting the idea of a national election fraud database. “We cannot fight industrial, sovereign, large-scale, election fraud with reports, press releases, and webinars.”

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