American Oversight has obtained copies of phony electoral vote certificates from seven states that were submitted to Congress as part of the failed attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The fake electoral certificates were assembled by groups of Trump supporters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin who sought to replace the valid presidential electors from their state — who had been chosen by voters in free and fair elections — with bogus slates of pro-Trump electors.
None of the certificates contains any indication that they list illegitimate slates of electors not chosen by those states’ voters.
The coordinated, multi-state effort to cast doubt on the 2020 election and undermine the electoral vote process tragically led to the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in which a pro-Trump mob stormed the building and sought to physically block the congressional certification of each state’s real Electoral College votes.
American Oversight is actively investigating the ongoing assault on our democracy, including the efforts by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to reverse the 2020 election. We obtained these records from the National Archives and Records Administration in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
We’ve filed separate sets of public records requests in multiple states — including in many of the seven named above — seeking documents relating to the Jan. 6 rally, the lawsuit filed by Texas attempting to invalidate other states’ electoral votes, and Trump’s effort to pressure Georgia officials to illegally change the vote totals, among others.
American Oversight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog that uses public records requests backed by litigation to fight corruption, drive accountability, and defend democracy. We believe transparency is a critical tool to promote integrity in government and to protect justice, truth, and the rule of law.
View and track our investigations into the politicians and interest groups working to subvert our democracy.
The 84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election include dozens of local Republican Party leaders, seven current candidates for public office, eight current office holders and at least five previous state and federal office holders.
Groups from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all sent lists of so-called alternate electors to the National Archives after the 2020 election. The slate of fake electors includes Lou Barletta and Charlie Gerow, both candidates for governor in Pennsylvania; Burt Jones, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia; James Lamon, a candidate for U.S. Senate from Arizona; and candidates for state legislative seats.
The group also includes eight current officeholders:
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At yesterday’s hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, we heard overwhelming proof that former president Trump and his congressional supporters tried to overturn the will of the voters in the 2020 presidential election and steal control of our country to keep a minority in power.
Today, thanks to three justices nominated by Trump, the Supreme Court stripped a constitutional right from the American people, a right we have enjoyed for almost 50 years, a right that is considered a fundamental human right in most liberal democracies, and a right they indicated they would protect because it was settled law. Today’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. For the first time in our history, rather than conveying rights, the court has explicitly taken a constitutional right away from the American people.
These two extraordinary events are related. The current-day Republican Party has abandoned the idea of a democracy in which a majority of the people elect their government. Instead, its members have embraced minority rule.
The Dobbs decision marks the end of an era: the period in American history stretching from 1933 to 1981, the era in which the U.S. government worked to promote democracy. It tried to level the economic playing field between the rich and the poor by regulating business and working conditions. It provided a basic social safety net through programs like Social Security and Medicare and, later, through food and housing security programs. It promoted infrastructure like electricity and highways, and clean air and water, to try to maintain a basic standard of living for Americans. And it protected civil rights by using the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, to stop states from denying their citizens the equal protection of the laws.
Now the Republicans are engaged in the process of dismantling that government. For forty years, the current Republican Party has worked to slash business regulations and the taxes that support social welfare programs, to privatize infrastructure projects, and to end the federal protection of civil rights by arguing for judicial “originalism” that claims to honor the original version of the Constitution rather than permitting the courts to protect rights through the Fourteenth Amendment.
But most Americans actually like the government to hold the economic and social playing field level. So, to win elections, Republicans since 1986 have suppressed votes, flooded the media with propaganda attacking those who like government action as dangerous socialists, gerrymandered congressional districts, abused the Senate filibuster to stop all Democratic legislation, and finally, when repeated losses in the popular vote made it clear their extremist ideology would never again command a majority, stacked the Supreme Court.
The focus of the originalists on the court has been to slash the federal government and make the states, once again, the centerpiece of our democratic system. That democracy belonged to the states was the argument of the southern Democrats before the Civil War, who insisted that the federal government could not legitimately intervene in state affairs. At the same time, though, state lawmakers limited the vote in their state, so “democracy” did not reflect the will of the majority. It reflected the interests of those few who could vote.
State governments, then, tended to protect the power of a few wealthy, white men, and to write laws reinforcing that power. Southern lawmakers defended human enslavement, for example, a system that concentrated wealth among a few white men. Challenged to defend their enslavement of their neighbors in a country that boasted “all men are created equal,” they argued that enslavement was secondary to the fact that voters had chosen to impose it.
The originalists on today’s Supreme Court have repeatedly emphasized that the states, rather than the federal government, should determine the laws under which we live. So, for example, in the Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez case decided on May 23, the court overturned a previous decision to say that two men on Arizona’s death row who had received ineffective legal assistance at their trials could not introduce new evidence at the federal level that would exonerate them. The decision said that such a review would “intrude on state sovereignty.”
And today, by a vote of 6 to 3, the court overturned Roe v. Wade, arguing that the right to determine abortion rights must be returned “to the people’s elected representatives” at the state level, even as states are restricting the right to vote. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, claimed that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion because it does not mention that right. While the court says it is willing to protect some rights not mentioned, they must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” In a concurring decision, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court should also revisit the right to use birth control and to engage in gay relationships or marriage.
We are still waiting on another potentially explosive decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, in which the court will decide if Congress can delegate authority to government agencies as it has done since the 1930s. If the court says Congress can’t delegate authority, even if it waters that argument down, government regulation could become virtually impossible. Having taken the federal government’s power to protect civil rights, it would then have taken its power to regulate business.
And yet, just yesterday, the court struck down a New York state law restricting the concealed carrying of guns on the grounds that history suggested such a restriction was unconstitutional. In fact, in both the Dobbs decision and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court used stunningly bad history, clearly just working to get to the modern-day position it wanted. Abortion was, in fact, deeply rooted in this nations history not only in the far past but also in the past 49 years, and individual gun rights were not part of our early history.
The court is imposing on the nation a so-called originalism that will return power to the states, leaving the door open for state lawmakers to get rid of business regulation and gut civil rights, but its originalism also leaves the door open for the federal government to impose laws on the states that are popular with Republicans. Already, the same day that the court handed down a decision striking down Roe v. Wade on the grounds that laws about abortion should come from the states, Republican politicians are calling for a federal law banning abortion everywhere.
In its imposition of minority rule first by insisting on state’s rights and then by demanding federal protection of laws it wants, the Republican Party is echoing the southern Democrats before the Civil War. Like today’s Republicans, as they lost support they entrenched themselves first in the machinery of the federal government and then in the Supreme Court.
And, finally, when northerners realized that enslavers had gamed the system to spread slavery across the nation, they came together from all different parties to protest and to stand against that attempt to destroy democracy and hand the country over to a few rich men. Ironically, that was the birth of the Republican Party that, under Abraham Lincoln, worked to create a government “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people.”
Tonight, there are protests around the country.
Lawmakers investigating the attack on the US Capitol on Thursday detailed Donald Trump’s efforts to recruit the Justice Department into his scheme to overturn his defeat to Joe Biden — attempting to replace its head with a loyalist who was “meddling in the outcome of a presidential election.”
At the fifth hearing into its year-long probe of the January 2021 insurrection, the House of Representatives panel described Trump’s pressure on officials to amplify his false claims that his presidency had been stolen by widespread voter fraud.
“Donald Trump didn’t just want the Justice Department to investigate. He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies, to baselessly call the election corrupt,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson said.
Lawmakers revisited tensions among government attorneys in the days leading to the violence, when Trump tried to install his own man at the top of the department.
“It was a brazen attempt to use the Justice Department to advance the president’s personal political agenda,” Thompson said.
Underscoring the intensity of Trump’s pressure on the department, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen said that in late December 2020 and early January 2021, the president contacted him almost daily.
“At one point, he had raised the question of having a special counsel for election fraud…. he raised whether the Justice Department would file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court,” Rosen said.
“At a couple of junctures, there were questions about making public statements or about holding a press conference.”
The DOJ pursued a deluge of Trump’s election fraud claims, but Rosen said officials were presented with no evidence.
At that point Trump began elevating a little-known mid-level department official named Jeffrey Clark, who embraced the outgoing president’s debunked theories.
Clark prepared a letter to the Georgia state assembly, the hearing was told, stating falsely that the department had found evidence of widespread voter fraud, but other officials refused to sign it. Other letters had also been prepared for other states.
Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told the committee in a videotaped deposition that he had informed Clark that his plan would amount to “committing a felony.”
Trump pushed to install Clark as attorney general over Rosen, and having Clark reverse the department’s conclusion that there was no evidence of fraud that could sway the election.
But Trump was forced to back off by a rebellion in the department’s senior ranks at a January 4 Oval Office meeting outlined in detail by the witnesses.
Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue, another high-ranking official named Steven Engel and White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to resign en masse, warning that they would take “hundreds and hundreds” of top federal prosecutors with them if Trump went ahead with his plan.
“I made the point that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the attorney general. He’s never been a criminal attorney. He’s never conducted a criminal investigation in his life,” Donoghue recalled telling Trump.
Donoghue said he told Clark: “You’re an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill?”
He also recalled warning Clark that his mission to push Trump’s election fraud claims was “nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election.”
Under live questioning, Donoghue confirmed that he had rebuffed Trump when the then-president insisted the department could simply “say that the election was corrupt” and “leave the rest to me.”
Rosen said Trump had asked him during a December 31 meeting to seize voting machines from state governments and again Rosen refused, explaining that there was no justification for doing so.
Donoghue recalled Trump being agitated and telling both officials he had been advised to fire them and promote Clark.
“I responded, as I think I had earlier… ‘Mr. President, you should have the leadership that you want, but understand the United States Justice Department functions on facts, evidence and law. And those are not going to change.'”
Clark didn’t appear before the committee and asserted his Fifth Amendment right to avoid incriminating himself more than 100 times during his deposition.
In a headline-grabbing coda to the affair, federal investigators searched Clark’s home on Wednesday. The US attorney in Washington did not comment on the reason for the action.