Guest Post: The Tie that Binds the Conspiracies

[This is a guest post by long-time community member WilliamOckham. /~Rayne]

This post began as an attempt to figure out who developed the “fake elector vote count in a box” package Republicans in seven states used to create “alternate” elector vote certifications.

It ended up helping me understand the “bigger conspiracy” to which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel referred. What follows is not an indictment and nothing in it is particularly new. Most of what I describe can be found in various comments here at emptywheel.

I’ve laid out how I think the “alternate” elector scheme played a central role in the coup. I think I understand why it was important for Nessel to refer this to the Department of Justice. Because some of these activities violated multiple states’ laws, it’s easier to show the entire scheme was corrupt.

The Contingency Plan

The key to understanding the conspiracy to overthrow the election of the President of the United States is in Barton Gellman’s article, The Election That Could Break America published September 23, 2020 in The Atlantic:

“… According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. …”

That’s it. That’s the core of the coup plan. “Bypass election results” means preventing the peaceful transfer of power. Every part of the effort, including the violence on January 6, depended on using Republican state legislatures to provide a façade of legitimacy to a brazen attempt to overthrow the government.

The “alternate” electors weren’t just some goofy outpouring of grassroots Trump support. They were absolutely essential to the plot. To understand the coup, we need to understand how the “alternate” electors scheme was carried out.

The Plan Realized

After a look at Michigan’s “alternate” electors, I noticed the formatting and textual similarities between the various states’ “Electoral Vote Certifications”; they show this was a nationally-coordinated effort.

One of the fake electoral vote count certifications (Nevada’s) was broadcast live. Go to the 7:08 mark and listen as they call the roll. You can verify that the names match the ones on the Nevada fake certification paperwork. At 12:53, they read their certification which matches word for word the one submitted to the National Archives. And at 14:15, two “electors” (Rice and Hindle) are shown using different pens. Sure enough, this difference shows up in the documents.

I think there’s a reason this particular event was the one live streamed. All of Nevada’s fake electors were selected by the Nevada Republican Party to serve in the event of a Trump win. There were no messy substitutions. Well, and maybe because they had a dude who could do a fairly decent acapella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which to be fair, I would show that off too.

As folks here have already noted, key figures in Trump World were well aware of this effort in real-time: Stephen Miller (imagine me turning and spitting on the ground every time I type that name) talked about it on December 14; Kayleigh McEnany talked it up on December 17.

However, I believe the foot soldiers for this aspect of the coup were from The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society (not to be confused with Project Amistad or Amistad Law Project which are totally different, legitimate organizations).

The Amistad Project has been connected to a variety of shady pro-Trump “election integrity” groups, like Got Freedom? or Election Integrity Project, or American Voter’s Alliance (to which Got Freedom? now redirects its internet traffic).

These organizations are all basically the same thing: a bunch of right-wing lawyers and political operatives committed to a lawfare strategy against American democracy.

The headliner for The Amistad Project is Phill Kline, an attorney with an indefinitely suspended license due to illegally accessing and disclosing private medical records for political purposes. The organization hosted the 2-hour-long January 2, 2021 Zoom conference with state legislators which Trump joined, right after he got off the phone with Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensberger.

Trump called into the meeting and told the legislators, “You are the real power…The most important people are you. You’re more important than the courts. You’re more important than anything because the courts keep referring to you, and you’re the ones that are going to make the decision,” in a 14-minute call into the session.

Several #StopTheSteal movement leaders were on the call. Other attendees included Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who got Trump on the phone; law professor John Eastman; Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade czar who recently authored a book on the election; and John R. Lott Jr., a Justice Department official who also separately authored a report suggesting some 300,000 “excess” ballots were counted, giving Biden his win.

During this call, Trump repeated the contingency plan. The “alternate electors” scheme is the tie that binds the conspiracies together. As it got closer and closer to January 6, all of the different threads of the insurrection tapestry began to converge on the need to obstruct the Congressional certification of Biden’s win.

In fact, Mark Meadows missed the January 2 Zoom meeting with state legislators because he was coordinating the Congressional end of the insurrection with Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, and about 50 Republican U.S. House members. This eventually led to the violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Let’s return to the question which started this essay. Who is responsible for the “fake elector vote count in a box” package? Two lawyers from the Amistad Project seem to be very closely tied operationally to the “alternate electors” scheme: Ian Northon and Erick Kaardal.

Ian Northon implicated himself in the Michigan stunt confrontation on December 14, 2020 at the state capitol building with Michigan State Police. At the 5:20 mark in this video, he says (and spells) his name and announces that he’s with The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society. That’s pretty clear cut.

Kaardal’s complicity is a little murkier. Kaardal was previously most known for filing the dumbest pro-Trump election lawsuit. No, really – he outdid the Kraken lawyers, at least according to one Twitter lawyer.

Kaardal’s behavior in this case was so bad U.S. District Judge for D.C. District James Boasberg actually referred him to the U.S. District Court’s Committee on Grievances. It’s that very lawsuit, filed on December 22, 2020 which implicates Kaardal in the “alternate electors” scheme. You can find some of the documentation for this case on

However, the interesting part is Appendix 12 and, if like me, you don’t have or want a PACER account, you can find it via the Wayback Machine looking through the now-missing Got Freedom? website. Buried almost 1500 pages into Kaardal’s “evidence” are photocopies of two of the fake election certifications (Michigan and Wisconsin).

Recall these false certifications were signed on December 14, 2020; eight days later, Kaardal has copies of them. But, wait, that’s not all. The “alternate” electors have to send off multiple originals to the National Archives, Vice President Mike Pence, so on. In the video of the Nevada signing you will see the “alternate electors” signing six copies of all the documents.

It’s very interesting that Kaardal’s photocopies aren’t copies of the originals sent to the National Archives. He’s got photocopies of different originals. I compared the signatures on the documents from the National Archives with the ones that Kaardal had, on or before December 22, 2020, and realized they’re signed by the same people, but there are minor variations in the signatures, as you would expect when people sign multiple copies at the same time. He had photocopies of originals from two different states – states in which Kaardal doesn’t live.

Would you like to guess what Kaardal’s favorite font is? Baskerville Old Face. Check out the documents he submitted in this dumbest pro-Trump election lawsuit. The “fake elector vote count in a box” package uses the same font and the same margins that Kaardal’s other documents use. He had access to the completed versions well before they were in the public domain.

One More Thing

(Imagine that in Peter Falk’s Columbo voice.) In the course of tracking all this down, I actually read the dumbest pro-Trump lawsuit which Kaardal wrote. Some of it – the not-quite-completely-unhinged parts – seemed familiar. I knew I had read some of these paragraphs before.

I went searching through my OCR’d versions of various documents I had come across – and I found it. You might remember the DOJ coughed up a bunch of documents to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. One of those documents was a draft lawsuit Trump’s assistant sent to Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue which Trump wanted the DOJ to file to overturn the election.

Lo and behold, significant chunks of that lawsuit were copied from Kaardal’s lawsuit. There’s no ethical issue with the copying. It’s just one more indication how closely the The Amistad Project folks were working with key Trump conspirators.

111 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    This entire “contingency plan” schema is like a “How Not To Subvert An Election.” I mean, couldn’t the conspirators agree on a font which is super common, like Times Roman, Courier, or Arial, as just one example?

    Thanks for this, WilliamOckham. There’s a lot of meat in this on which to chew.

      • Rayne says:

        That’s bad. I mean, really, REALLY bad. Though I must admit before I clicked on the link I wondered if it was Comic Sans or a crayon-like font. LOL

      • klynn says:

        I think the use of the font is very intentional, especially considering the organizations involved.

        Having studied typeface a while back, Baskerville was used for Baskerville’s: 1766 translation of Virgil, Paradise Lost, 1763 Bible, and the 1760 Book of Common Prayer, to name a few.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I bet that is the font that the administrative assistant used on her wedding invitations. It looks real fancy.


        • eyesoars says:

          ULC? Wow… at my first job out of college (in 1980), several coworkers got mixed up with their income-tax/church scheme. I heard the IRS came through a few years later and most of them had some troubles.

      • Francine Fein says:

        Great post on many levels. This font discussion has been of special interest to me. Back in the day (1960s) I was a typesetter…newsletters, journals, books, etc. It was after the days of “hot lead” but before IBM Selectric typewriters. I have hundreds of fonts on my computer — fonts make such a difference – each helps convey the message. I’m loving this conversation! Thank you!

      • phred says:

        Great post WO. And thanks for posting the link to the official certificates.

        It appears to me that the official Wisconsin document was the template used for the fakes. That suggests a key early conspirator hails from my home state.

        It also seems to me that whoever picked up a copy of the Wisconsin form did not realize that the official document varies from state to state, since little effort was made to emulate the diversity of the official documents.

        This approach reminds me of the legislative output of ALEC that writes cookie cutter bills to send to affiliated state legislators.

        Have you uncovered any links to individuals in Wisconsin or cross-over ALEC members?

        • WilliamOckham says:

          If you’re really interested look at the official Georgia vote certifications from 2020 and 2016 (available on the NARA website). The template that the conspirators used is very close to Georgia 2020. However, the fake Georgia 2020 has alterations that make it look more like the real Georgia 2016.

          The format for these things is generally not important. The only reason I looked at this stuff at all was that the 2020 fake certifications were so obviously from the same template.

          As to links to specific individuals, one complicating factor is just that the right-wing is filled with lawyers and political operatives that move from one grift to the next. So, the director of the Rep AG association who got fired for the robocall urging people to march on the Capitol is a former Federalist Society employee. Does that mean anything? Probably not.

        • phred says:

          Will do, WO, thanks!

          I disagree that the formatting is unimportant, it can help layout a trail. That said, I do agree that there are so many people involved it would be like looking for single tracks of footprints among thousands on a battlefield.

      • Reggie M. says:

        This is great scoop. I love this nitty gritty stuff. The bad guys always screw up in the email and fake documents department. Good for you.

  2. pdaly says:

    Nice to see your name in the byline.

    Great read. I hope the people involved in this multi-state election fraud face legal consequences and are kept from positions of power going forward.

    As an aside, the name Erick Kaardal sounded familiar to me from decades ago.
    Erick graduated from Harvard College in 1988– as did former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In college, both participated in Republican Club as Program Director and as President/Secretary, respectively. I assume they knew each other then, so I would be surprised if they are not in touch with each other now.

    Yet another person in the news with a Harvard connection taking us in the wrong direction.

    At least the work of Roberta Kaplan (Harvard College 1988) and United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii Derrick Watson (Harvard College 1988) are public beacons of light.

  3. bg says:

    Brilliant. I think I’ll send this link to our state AG. Just for the entertainment value. One of the NM signers is an actual state rep, but in the case of NM, the Congressional reps are 2Ds, 1tRumper, and the legislature is firmly in D control, unlike others in this bunch.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    With the formal referrals from MI and NM (NM had some weasel words in their submission to the Archives but MI did not) one would think DoJ has enough to move. That means the process starts, so would this summer be a valid time for some bombshells to drop into the press cycle?

  5. WilliamOckham says:

    By the way, the January 6 Committee subpoenaed Jenna Ellis today. Guess what, Jenna Ellis is an attorney for the Thomas More Society.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks, WO, for the fine research and comment.

    The NYT must feel the need to play defensive coach for the beleaguered former guy. It’s adding to its roster by advertising for, “an ambitious and experienced reporter to own one of the most important and demanding beats of our time: covering former President Donald J. Trump, his political operation and the movement he has spawned.”

    I thought half of the NYT’s reporters were already doing that. Or is the NYT playing catch up with the WaPo? Just as likely, given how elite institutions pre-hire legacies and favorites, the NYT has already committed to a hire, but wants it to look like they tried really hard to add diverse, non-white male Republican views to its nomenklatura.

    • BobCon says:

      My best guess is that this person gets effectively stovepiped away from the teeming hordes of campaign, national and DC reporters.

      This one person will provide a good faith 20 column inches once a month, while everyone else continues to churn out their endless stenography of GOP insiders daily.

      The Times editors have been facing a ton of external and internal pressure to fix their coverage and force their 30 regular hacks to act like real reporters. The editors are reaponding by letting business as usual continue, with a slight accommodation for someone the rest of the staff won’t even dignify to read.

      It wil be like the Times DC office’s response to the investigative desk’s prize winning coverage of Trump’s taxes — “What’s that? I can’t hear anything? Anyway, here’s what Mark Meadows says is wrong with Pelosi…”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        “That’s the nature of being the bait,” but it’s hard to imagine what sort of talented, “ambitious and experienced reporter” would join the NYT, only to be staked out like a goat.

  7. Joberly says:

    Thanks, W.O., for a good post. As I recall, a proto- ‘contingency plan’ was first proposed by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature leadership in late November of 2000. Had the Florida Supreme Court upheld Vice President Gore’s recount challenge and had Gore won more votes, the Legislature was ready to invoke its power to cast Florida’s 25 EVs for George W. Bush, the will of the voters notwithstanding. The contingency was that Bush might lose his *Bush v. Gore* challenge at the US Supreme Court, and if so, the Florida Legislature was ready to get its slate in before the Dec. 15 E.C. meeting. Compare and contrast: in 2000, the Republicans at least waited until the voters went to the polls. In 2020, Trump was ready to go ‘contingency plan’ before the election, no matter the vote count.

    • Scott Johnson says:

      I’m still surprised that no state has decided to cancel the Presidential elections therein and simply have the Legislature appoint electors; especially the two Biden states with complete GOP control of state government (GA and AZ).

      And one wonders if we will get a test as to whether the words “the Legislature thereof” in Article II Section 1 mean “the Legislature (of a state) acting without regard to the normal lawmaking procedures”, as some Trumpies liked to suggest when arguing that GOP legislatures in states such as WI or PA could appoint electors over the objection of the Democratic governors therein. (Normally I’d doubt it, but I’ve a low opinion of the current status of the judiciary to adjudicate such things according to common sense).

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Probably because a conspiracy reaches only so far, and between the Democratic minority and the honest Republican minority it would not have been possible to win a vote intended to overthrow the election and effectively end American democracy. In the House of Representatives it was “only” as many as 50 Republicans who were engaged with the attempted autocoup; maybe the proportion is similar in state legislatures. Or am I being too optimistic?

  8. Molly Pitcher says:

    Tangentially, according to Politico, The National Archive is releasing 4 pages to the Jan 6 Committee tomorrow.

    ““Absent an intervening court order, the Archivist intends to release records from the fourth tranche to the Committee at 6:00 pm tomorrow,” Boynton said in a letter filed with the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday evening.

    Boynton said the Justice Department had alerted Trump’s lawyers to the possibility that the new records would be released, but the Trump attorneys said on Tuesday that they believed the planned handover of the so-called fourth tranche would violate a stay that the D.C. Circuit imposed in November.

    However, the Justice Department attorney said the stay applied only to the three sets of records originally at issue in the litigation.”

  9. Lester Noyes says:

    Thank you, thank you, W.O. – but I can’t help feeling that everything’s too late. The voting rights legislation will fail and the Facisto-Republicans will take over next year and…The End. Or actual civil war. Can’t help feeling depressed.
    This website always gives me hope but the newspapers don’t.

  10. Peterr says:

    The Columbo voice is a nice touch. What I loved about that show, back in the day, was that you knew who was guilty from the very beginning of each episode, and the fun part was seeing how Columbo would catch them.

    Seems appropriate here.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I appreciate all the good wishes. I appreciate even more someone who really gets me. It’s all about seeing how they get caught.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I wonder how much help Barr’s memoir will be, even accounting for the heavy dose of gaslight it will contain which would be the net production from eating 500 double-fried burritos from Taco Bell filled with jalapenos. It might be enough to run all the ACs in Phoenix for a year.

      Note that the Trump family has also been touched for phone records, Eric and Kimberly.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        Somewhat oddly, Eric Trump has denounced the “partisan J6” committee and yet said he has “nothing to hide” and they can have his phone records. Likely he feels safe because they are call records, not content records. Let’s see how that works out.

        And an excellent post from my favourite medieval philosopher.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I’m more surprised that Eric was allowed to touch anything at all. Kimberly OTOH was very involved and perhaps could leverage DJTJr as well. I do find it interesting that Ivanka’s latest foray into image repair was derided thoroughly by the Twitterverse.

          Thanks again to the Indomitable Doctor for digging this out.

      • jeco says:

        If nothing else I figure the phone records will show lots of phone activity between Eric and Kimberly that Don-Don was unaware of…no honor among trump spawn

      • gmoke says:

        I’d like to see a subpoena for Ginni Thomas’ phone and financial records at some point. I mean, if the J6 Com or DOJ is really following the money.

        The explosion of self-righteous bombast would be a wonder to behold.

  11. Badger Robert says:

    1. Thanks to W.O. for the post.
    2. Litigating with self appointed elite lawyers over defiance of Congress is superb politics for the committee.

  12. Pete T says:

    I tend to send links to well written and insightful posts like this to Jan 6 Committee Members (and will do so for this one too), but I’d love to know of an “address” for those doing the puzzle pieces behind the scenes for the committee.

    It’s might not be enough to just hope they are as good at putting the puzzle pieces together as William, Marcie, Rayne, and others are here – though I suspect they are very good at what they are doing.


  13. Ravenclaw says:

    Thank you so much for this. One sees so many informative comments and incisive analysis here (on top of the amazing posts) that things get jumbled up and/or forgotten. The work of stitching together a set of scenes to create a clear, fact-based narrative is much appreciated.

  14. harpie says:

    WO: The “alternate” electors weren’t just some goofy outpouring of grassroots Trump support. They were absolutely essential to the plot. To understand the coup, we need to understand how the “alternate” electors scheme was carried out.

    Something I think is new information about some of those electors:
    8:21 AM · Jan 17, 2022

    [THREAD] But we need to understand what was really going on here.

    27 false electors were also Plaintiffs in various lawsuits brought by Sidney Powell, Binnall or The Amistad Project. Each of those lawsuits were filed *prior* to the December 14th date when the false elector documents were signed. […] [THREAD]

  15. harpie says:

    From the 9/23/20 Atlantic article: With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. …”

    Also on: 9/23/20 TRUMP refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power

    12/27/20 TRUMP to ROSEN and DONOGHUE: just say [CLAIM] the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”

    • Rayne says:

      What an amazing bit of timing, that. You know Gellman must have been working on that Atlantic piece before 9/23 when it was published, and Trump just goes ahead and confirms what Gellman’s written, that Trump won’t go peacefully.


      That NPR article shows one of the directions this could have gone if Trump’s contingency plans hadn’t ended in the House. Three days later Trump’s hosting a Rose Garden party for Amy Coney-Barrett, new SCOTUS justice.

      ADDER: I’d like to know if anybody from the Federalist Society was involved in ‘contingency plans’ before ACB was nominated. Was her appointment fundamentally corrupt because she was part of the contingency?

    • Tom R. says:

      The timeline extends back an additional 4½ years:
      — Summer 2020 : As the Gellman article mentions, there were scenario planning sessions.
      — Oct. 20, 2016 : He said on national TV that he would accept the results of the election only if he won.
      — Summer 2016 : His BFF Roger Stone had a Stop the Steal website and other preparations ready to go if needed.
      — Feb. 2016: He actually disputed the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, the first-ever electoral results involving him.

      I roll my eyes when people worry about how to prove intent, how to prove mens rea. Lying about anything that doesn’t go his way is his shtick. It has been his openly advertised MO for years.

      • earthworm says:

        Lying about everything is tfg’s “schtick,” gaslighting the entire nation!
        No one can wrap their mind around that the Presidential Voice in the White House could be fabricating so blatantly, so yes, that is the secret sauce.
        It is impossible to know what is UP vs DOWN, BLACK vs WHITE; it is Rove & Cheney’s “we create our own reality” writ monstrously huge. Tfg is the nation’s sociopathic abusive husband, gaslighting the abashed spousal citizenry.
        Appreciate WO’s work here, like everything i read at this site.

  16. WilliamOckham says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. And special thanks to harpie for that link to DempseyTwo’s Twitter thread. Now I get to go back through a bunch of nutty lawsuits to fill out our understanding of the connections between all these people.

    Special request: If anyone has evidence of known connections between these folks and anyone who has already been indicted in the investigation, put them in a reply to this comment. I’m starting to build up a picture of the connections needed to do a force-directed graph of the overarching conspiracy.

    • Tom R. says:

      I look forward to seeing the graph. You’re going to need a lot of red string.

      As Deep Throat famously said: Follow the money. Here are some nodes on the graph:
      — Julie Jenkins Fancelli
      — Women for America First
      — Republican Attorneys General Association, which paid for robocalls summoning hooligans to DC.
      — Caroline Wren
      — Ali Alexander

      Also pay particular attention to Mark Finchem, who was a fake elector and was also in the VIP section at the Jan. 6th rally.

      Alexander obtained multiple rally permits using fake names, and was otherwise heavily involved. He said he “schemed up” the operation in collaboration with Finchem, Gosar, and Biggs. So that’s a crucial arc on the graph.

      You can find a ton of open-source information by googling the aforementioned names.

  17. Tom says:

    One thing I hope this particular case illustrates is that the more people a conspiracy draws in, the more likely it is to be exposed. We’ve seen how Republican-led states since 2020 have adopted measures not only to suppress the vote but to subvert the vote as well. But I wonder if even those measures will be enough for the GOP to achieve its goals.

    If Trump & Co. had been successful in carrying out their coup in 2020-’21, they would have had to persuade the American public–or somehow coerce them into accepting–that Joe Biden’s apparent 7,000,000 vote margin win was fraudulent. In fact, Republicans would have had to insist that, after decades of virtually fraud-free elections including Trump’s own win in 2016, most of the votes now cast for Joe Biden were invalid in order to maintain Trump’s claim that he won the 2020 election by a landslide.

    Of course, there would have been Democratic demands for audits of the vote count, but wouldn’t Republicans have had to refuse such requests or arrange for the audits to be carried out by their own people in order to maintain the fiction that Trump won? Perhaps I’m being naive (and I’m speaking as a Canadian with no hands-on experience with the American election system), but I don’t see how Republicans can reasonably expect that on election night in 2024 Democratic voters will be sitting at home watching the results tally up in favour of their Presidential candidate and then passively accept that the Republican candidate won after all, only by means of GOP vote tampering. I just don’t see that happening.

    At some point, I wonder if Republicans will begin to consider ways of not only suppressing and subverting the vote, but hiding the vote results as well, though I’m not sure how they would manage that. On election day the polls will be open for a number of hours in Republican states and then at the end of the evening the winner–the Republican, of course–will be announced, with a victory of, say. 99.9% of votes cast.

  18. Jenny says:

    Thank you. Satisfaction when puzzle pieces interlock.
    In connection with “conspiracies,” PBS ran an update version of Frontline “United States of Conspiracy” last night.

    How trafficking in conspiracy theories went from the fringes of U.S. politics into the White House. FRONTLINE examines the alliance of President Donald Trump, his longtime advisor Roger Stone and conspiracy entrepreneur Alex Jones, and their role in the battle over truth and lies.

  19. harpie says:

    Several #StopTheSteal movement leaders were on the call. [1/2/21] […] and John R. Lott Jr., a Justice Department official who also separately authored a report suggesting some 300,000 “excess” ballots were counted, giving Biden his win.

    He was in the TRUMP DOJ from 10/20 – 1/16/21.
    Lott “pushes the theory that “more guns = less crime,”
    AND “was hired in October to advise on crime data”.

    Also, there’s this at that Wiki:

    Lost Bush votes in the 2000 presidential election
    In 2000, Lott argued, using a regression analysis, that George W. Bush lost at least 10,000 votes in Florida after the media incorrectly called the state for Al Gore while voting was still on-going in the more conservative parts of the state.[60] Lott’s argument is used in the influential social science methodology textbook Rethinking Social Inquiry (edited by Henry Brady and David Collier) as an example of poor methodology. Contrary to Lott’s study, they show that the number of lost Bush votes ranged from 28 to 56.[60]


    • gmoke says:

      John Lott aka Mary Rosh did a survey on guns on which he based at least one of his books but, when pressed, had no supporting documentation as his computer crashed and the original paper tally sheets were abandoned in a move. I guess the dog didn’t eat the computer.

      These people never go away even when they are shown to be frauds and grifters.

  20. dwfreeman says:

    An estimated $3 million was raised for Trump’s Jan. 6 “March to Save America” Ellipse rally, which allegedly cost $500,000 to stage. The sources of that funding aren’t completely known, but one big giver was the heir of the Publix supermarket chain, Julie Jenkins Fancelli.

    Fanceilli reportedly gave $300,000 for Jan. 6-related expenses but ahead of the rally former Trump campaign fundraiser Caroline Wren, who boasted of raising the funding for rally-connected activities, reportedly parked $150,000 of Fancelli’s donation with the Rule of Law Defense Fund, the dark money policy arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a 22-year-old old political group supporting GOP attorneys general.

    The donation to RFLD was used for an audio message campaign or robocall to invite certain folks to Trump’s election protest rally starting at noon followed by a 1 pm march. It was the only other pre-rally announcement of the unpermitted march other than a Trump tweet in the hours leading up to the event. Here’s what, found in its reporting on RAGA and the robocall in question.

    Rally planning documents obtained by ProPublica also show that Wren listed RAGA as the paying sponsor for five hotel rooms in Washington the week of Jan. 6, including a $1,029-a-night suite for Fancelli. The documents suggest Wren expected the group to pay for several other attendees’ hotel rooms, including those of Trump campaign surrogate Gina Loudon and Bikers for Trump founder Chris Cox.

    In Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s account of Trump’s final days in office, the authors report that on Nov. 6, days after the election but still not officially called, Rudy Giuliani went to Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va. where he spoke with Mike Pence’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, who wondered why he was there.

    Giuliani said his legal team had a plan. They were already filing lawsuits in states and working with several outside law firms. He was excitedly talking about alleged election abuses, late dumps of votes in Democratic states and blue cities. Trump’s campaign observers had been barred from tabulation rooms, widespread “cheating” had occurred. The election was stolen.

    On Christmas Day, while playing a couple rounds of golf with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in Florida, they talked about Trump’s election loss and the difficulty in overcoming the defeat. “When you get 74 million votes and you lose, that’s got to be hard to take,” Graham rationalized. “You better believe it’s hard to take,” Trump replied.

    But Trump wouldn’t let it go. “Why won’t you let me play it out,” he asked Graham. “I’m going to let you play it out. There’s certain things I can’t do, and you know what they are. But let’s play this out. Keep shining a light on processes you think were tainted.”

    Graham had insisted there were shenanigans going on in Georgia and other places, but not to the level of proof needed to overturn the election. “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 30. “Women for America First,” filed a National Park Service permit for Jan. 22 and 23, then amended the application for rallies and reserved space at Freedom Plaza near the White House for Jan. 6. If Republicans could cast enough of a shadow on Biden’s victory, Steve Bannon reasoned, it would be hard for Biden to govern. Bannon told Trump to focus on Jan. 6. “People are going to go. We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th.”

    Tweets by Trump worked like a starter’s pistol to galvanize and motivate supporters, with two pro-Trump factions competing to take control of the “big protest.”

    On one side stood Women for America First, led by Amy Kremer, a Republican operative who helped found the tea party movement. The group initially wanted to hold a kind of extended oral argument, with multiple speakers making their case for how the election had been stolen.

    On the other was Stop the Steal, a new, more radical group that had recruited avowed racists to swell its ranks and wanted Trump to share the podium with Alex Jones, the radio host banned from the world’s major social media platforms for hate speech, misinformation and glorifying violence. Stop the Steal organizers say their plan was to march on the Capitol and demand that lawmakers give Trump a second term.

    In a June 25 article, ProPublica published new details about the Trump White House’s knowledge of the gathering storm, after interviewing more than 50 people involved in the events of Jan. 6 and reviewing months of private correspondence. Taken together, these accounts suggest that senior Trump aides had been warned the Jan. 6 events could turn chaotic, with tens of thousands of people potentially overwhelming ill-prepared law enforcement officials.

    Rather than trying to halt the march, Trump and his allies accommodated its leaders, according to text messages and interviews with Republican operatives and officials.

    Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign official assigned by the White House to take charge of the rally planning, helped arrange a deal where those organizers deemed too extreme to speak at the Ellipse could do so on the night of Jan. 5. That event ended up including incendiary speeches from Jones and Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, who fired up his followers with a chant of “Victory or death!”

    • Rayne says:

      Hey, I know you mean well, but an 887-word comment is really asking a lot of readers to manage on mobile devices, especially when much of this has been previously covered ground. Please narrow focus to what we don’t already know which isn’t available elsewhere.

      • rip says:

        Why focus on the least common denominator – the mobile phone. Some have tiny screens and some are phablets. Why not expect your readers to have access to at least 1024×768 (or in my case 4-times that) to read such fantastic matters.

        Perhaps a better platform that allows real logins, threaded conversations, finding new comments, etc. would be a good thing now. I’ve donated several times, still can’t log in – just comment randomly. Empty Wheel is a phenom and needs to be on a decent commenting platform.

        • Ryan says:

          I mostly read on a laptop. But it’s not like this rule prevents him from posting. He just needs to cut it into a couple of pieces.

        • Rayne says:

          1) You’re making an assumption about the traffic to this site, not only about the hardware used but the users behind them. Imagine staffers of members of Congress periodically dropping in on their cellphones; would you rather piss them off or make a concise point to them? For the record I use tablets of multiple sizes and a desktop and comments exceeding 300 words are still a pain in the ass and rarely to the point. When optimum POST length is 1500-2400 words, a comment approaching 25% of that is excessive and an indication someone needs their own blog.

          2) As I recently explained in comments after a drive-by troll made the same complaint: we don’t track users here like other systems do. Go and shop for a comment system, note how much of each user’s data can be harvested by another entity. Determine just how much extra labor and hassle it would take to manage a parallel platform. We use this “really stupid system” (which other WordPress sites must use because it still exists) because every commenter’s data stays here, with us, unused for any purpose except to confirm whether the commenter is new (or a new sock puppet like this concern troll) or a seasoned member of this community.

          Every blog site which allows comments has its foibles. None are perfect. This site asks its community to assume responsibility for their identities when they comment, which for the overwhelming majority of commenters over more than a decade hasn’t been a problem. Your price for participation here is keeping track of your username and email address and generally not being an ass.

          This is 280 words.

  21. harpie says:

    THIS is a great find!

    One of those documents was a draft lawsuit Trump’s assistant [Molly MICHAEL] sent to Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue which Trump wanted the DOJ to file to overturn the election. […] Lo and behold, significant chunks of that lawsuit were copied from Kaardal’s lawsuit. There’s no ethical issue with the copying. It’s just one more indication how closely the The Amistad Project folks were working with key Trump conspirators.

    That assistant’s name is Molly MICHAEL:

    12/14/20 Special Assistant to the President Molly Michael emails Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen two documents “From POTUS”: (1) a set of talking points alleging voter fraud in Antrim County, Michigan; and (2) a purported “forensic report” by Allied Operations Group on Dominion Voting Systems’ performance in Antrim County.

    December 29, 2020 At Trump’s behest, Molly Michael emails Rosen, Donoghue, and Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall a draft bill of complaint purporting to invoke the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction against the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada to overturn their presidential election results.

    She is one of ten people in this request:

    • Rayne says:

      Oh man…why was a special assistant to POTUS sending anything at all to DOJ about the election? I mean, we *know* why but this is so many flavors of wrongness from violating the independence of DOJ to Hatch Act violations, to conspiracy to obstruct government proceedings to what did I forget to add?

      Good tag teaming, harpie and WO!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When communicating about legitimate matters, a normal president would have told his WHCO to get in touch with DoJ. Or did the former guy not want to start the resignation avalanche?

        • Rayne says:

          Or was his WHCO already too busy fielding other crap, perhaps even in part because Trump intended to keep WHCO busy and out of the way? Ye Olde Bannon-esque ‘flood the zone with bullshit’ at work.

  22. Doctor My Eyes says:

    I hesitate to add content here, because the principles who keep this site on the leading edge already know what’s up. I haven’t seen mention of ALEC in relation to the scheme to steal elections before. Nor have I seen Cleta Mitchell mentioned as playing a central role. I think Cleta Mitchell was on the phone call to Raffensberger. Forgive me if I’m chasing phantoms.

    It’s Sydney Blumenthal writing in The Guardian:

    “More than a year before the election of 2020, in August 2019, conservative operatives in closely connected rightwing organizations began preparing a strategy for disputing election results. A “Political Process Working Group” focused on “election law and ballot integrity” was launched by Lisa Nelson, the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), heavily funded by the Koch brothers’ dark money syndicate, the Donors Trust.

    Nelson is also a member of the secretive Council on National Policy (CNP), composed of more than 400 rightwing Republican leaders, a roster that includes Ginni Thomas, the ubiquitous rightwing zealot and wife of supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, and Leonard Leo, vice-president of the conservative Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network”


    “A board member of the CNP, Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer at the center of a host of rightwing groups, assumed control over the Alec-originated project and moved it forward. She is also a board member of the Bradley Foundation, which is a major funder of conservative organizations, including Alec and the CNP. Most importantly, she has directed the Bradley Foundation to serve as the chief funder of a group of which she is chairman, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (Pilf), a principal conservative organization seeking to purge voter rolls of minorities and immigrants, file suits that accuse local election officials of “fraud”, and attempt to overturn election results. At a February 2020 meeting of the CNP devoted to election tactics, the Pilf president, J Christian Adams, advised: “Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor, you’re a racist and so forth.”

    “Mitchell was instrumental in devising the blueprint for the coup. On 10 December 2020, 65 leading members of the CNP signed a succinct step-by-step summary of the completely elaborated plot that went little noticed except on the coup-friendly rightwing website Gateway Pundit:

    ‘The evidence overwhelmingly shows officials in key battleground states – as the result of a coordinated pressure campaign by Democrats and allied groups – violated the constitution, state and federal law in changing mail-in voting rules that resulted in unlawful and invalid certifications of Biden victories. There is no doubt President Donald J Trump is the lawful winner of the presidential election. Joe Biden is not president-elect. Accordingly, state legislatures in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Michigan should exercise their plenary power under the constitution and appoint clean slates of electors to the electoral college to support President Trump. Similarly, both the House and Senate should accept only these clean electoral college slates and object to and reject any competing slates in favor of Vice-President Biden from these states. Conservative leaders and groups should begin mobilizing immediately to contact their state legislators, as well as their representatives in the House and Senate, to demand that clean slates of electors be appointed in the manner laid out in the US constitution.'”

    [Doc, I need to ding you on these excerpts. Rule of thumb is not to exceed 300 words from copyrighted material. Combined they’re 480 words, pushing the threshold. I’ve offset them with blockquote tags to make it more obvious they’re excerpts. Trust your own words and summarize, point to the link when possible. /~Rayne]

  23. morganism says:

    Ukraine may be doing the putsch thing this week again.

    It just occurred to be that i would be VERY nervous if i was Poreshenko heading back to Kyiv this week.

    Putin needs a false flag , preferably an uprising. Everyone is looking to the Donbass, but what if he convinced Poro that he was going to support him as the returning hero president.
    Talks him into going back, and then, whoops, he gets assasinated !
    Talk about riling up the old supporters, and then Putin would have to roll all the way to Kyiv to protect the patriots.

    Almost too perfect of a script.

    And that makes taking the govt websites offline more effective, since you have a harder time posting official info, and rely more on social media. It also may actually be targeting the civil call -up of militia and UKR patriots.

    … If the defacements and wiper were meant to be coordinated and simultaneous — a possibility since Microsoft says some of the same agencies defaced were also infected with the wiper — the timing was odd. Conducting an attention-getting defacement of web sites on the same day a wiper is installed but not launched would only draw scrutiny to the networks of those agencies, raising the potential for the wiper to be discovered before it had a chance to wipe anything. …

    A security researcher who goes by the name The Grugq wrote in a post that he believes the two events may have been a coordinated effort by two groups, in which the coordination failed.

    “They said [in the defacement] ’your information is leaked and destroyed,’ but the news of [the wiper] wasn’t public for two days,” he told Zero Day. “That made the defacement appear like an isolated attack by some blustering idiots who couldn’t do anything.”

    “The kinds of things that I worry about are scaled-up attacks” that hit critical infrastructure or reverberate across multiple sectors and have widespread effect like NotPetya, he says. “That’s when they can really do serious damage.” …

    In 2015, Russia took out power in part of Ukraine, and in 2016 it took out a transmission facility at the same time it launched the series of attacks that struck targets in the commercial and government sectors, including the national railway system and Ministry of Finance. So it has already demonstrated an ability to hit critical infrastructure and an interest in conducting multi-pronged and widespread operations.”

    [You used 260 words from Kim Zetter’s substack without appropriate attribution and demarcation indicating where you have spliced content together. DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN. I have added blockquotes and ellipses to offset this copyrighted material. Zetter relies on his substack for his living; using his content without more careful attribution abuses Fair Use and his need for attribution. You’re also pushing it with the length of this comment. /~Rayne]

    • morganism says:

      I seem to recall that the jail system had been taken over by the sympathizers, it would only take someone leaving a door “ajar”, and allowing the infiltrators access to where Poro is being held, then the “locals” could come in and lynch him.

      Sleep well Poro, and remember it is for the good of the Homeland…

  24. Leoghann says:

    WO, that was excellent, and I look forward to the continued fruits of your research.

    I’m sure you already known that not one, but two fake certificates were submitted from Arizona. They were alike in appearance, but IIRC two of the electors were different. One of those submissions was from Protect the Vote AZ, a group that claims on its website to represent the “sovereign citizens of the Great State of Arizona.” The group’s head is Lori Osiecki, of Mesa. She has told reporters that her document was handed to her, in person, by Rudy Giuliani, in Arizona.

    • Rayne says:

      handed to her, in person, by Rudy Giuliani, in Arizona.” LOL way to go, Rudy.

      Note to bmaz: I told you there were two AZ certs. Heh.

  25. ArchD says:

    Thanks for this. As the outlines of the conspiracy (or overlapping conspiracies) come into focus, thanks mostly to Emptywheel, I find myself thinking more and more about the “10,000 troops to protect my people”. Taking in the plans outlined by Eastman/Navarro etc. and the conflicting intelligence info coming from multiple law enforcement sources, it may be that no one actually thought there would be violence BEFORE the certification. It was certainly possible and widely discussed, but considered fringe bluster. But if the Trump team thought they could actually delay certification and throw things into disarray, there certainly would have been a wave of angry protesters flooding to the Capitol, in amount requiring a large troop presence to hold things down during the debate and potential vote by Congress. Martial law was being discussed by Flynn and others, Oathkeepers thought they’re be deputized, and certainly all hell would have broken loose.

  26. Zinsky says:

    This is really good investigative reporting. It helps fill in several blanks in the J6 investigation. I, for one, really appreciate your work here.

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