I was alerted to this lawsuit by Juanita Jean, although it has since been pretty widely reported.
It has so many satisfying aspects…
It seems that one of the wealthy fat cats supporting Donald Trump sent a lot of money–two and a half million dollars, to be exact– to “True the Vote,” to support that organization’s lawsuits to overturn the results of the election. Given the uniform failure of those suits–most of which have been withdrawn for admitted lacks of any evidence of fraud or wrongdoing– he wants his money back.
As Juanita Jean writes,
Those kinds of fights are a Democrat’s dream, especially if you personally know one of the people involved and have had fights with them before.
The person Juanita Jean personally knows is a co-director of True the Vote named Cathy Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht used to be her neighbor, and Juanita reports that she
“would hold meetings all over the county with mostly old people at churches and fleece them for money explaining how we Democrats cheat in elections. Then she got volunteers from her rich Republican friends with clipboard to go “monitor” voting places in black and Hispanic precincts.”
Juanita Jean may be able to recite chapter and verse about Cathy Engelbrecht (there’s more at the link), but those of us who live in Indiana can counter with tales of Engelbrecht’s Hoosier co-director, Jim Bopp.
Indeed, these two seem made for each other.
Until he actually won the Citizens United case, (a case that presented the Court’s majority with an opportunity to reinforce an ideological bias) Bopp was a predictable and annoying joke in Indiana’s legal community–one of those “Christian” lawyers who could be counted on to insert himself in “culture war” lawsuits or any effort to moderate the lopsided power of the GOP. (Bopp and the organizations with which he’s affiliated–Right to Life, Focus on the Family– know what God does and doesn’t want. Presumably, God wants Republicans to gerrymander, suppress votes, and take buckets of money from unidentified sources…) Bopp’s most fervent–and successful–efforts have been against campaign finance laws.
With True the Vote, Bopp has confirmed that his skills, such as they are, are political, not legal. As one legal blog reports, Fred Eshelman, the owner of a healthcare-focused investment company, took the Houston-based non-profit at its word when it promised results.
The complaint in the case alleges that Republican “powerhouse lawyer” James Bopp promised to file lawsuits in the seven closest battleground states, serve state election officials with subpoenas, and use the resulting data to flag irregularities.( Bopp’s status as a “powerhouse” is wholly dependent upon his victory in Citizens United-the lawsuit that opened the floodgates to corporate money in elections through the rise of super PACs.)
Eshelman asserts that he repeatedly requested information about the lawsuits filed by True the Vote..
But Eshelman notes that the memos, reporters and whistleblowers never came, and all that he received in their place were four complaints filed in four states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. All of the complaints were voluntarily dismissed, in a decision the investor claims had been made “in concert with counsel for the Trump campaign.”
In the Wisconsin case, Bopp promised that “evidence will be shortly forthcoming” before withdrawing their complaint without that evidence on the morning of the hearing.
Well before the election, reports by The New York Times and numerous other media outlets, had made it abundantly clear that True the Vote was simply one of the many Republican efforts at vote suppression.
All of which leaves me with a question: why does someone who has so much money he can send two and a half million dollars to an organization do so without bothering to vet either the organization or the people running it? Anyone who is even slightly acquainted with political reality knows that in-person vote fraud is virtually unknown in the U.S.–and that overturning a Presidential election by alleging such fraud is about as likely as capturing the tooth fairy.
Granted, there’s something satisfying in watching the opportunists and bottom-feeders turn on each other. The Germans call it schadenfreude.
But cases like this tend to confirm that having lots of money isn’t a measure of IQ.