In September 2020, a dark-money group called the Rule of Law Defense Fund convened a meeting of Atlanta employees of the fund’s corporate sibling, the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA). His goal was to run a “war game” to prepare for the re-election of Donald Trump in November. Three months later, the same group will help gather in front of the White House on January 6, 2021.
This was no different. Such vague preparations had begun long before the January 6 violence. As the House Select Committee investigating the incident begins hearings this week, we can learn more about those preparations and the people behind them.
Related: The Jan. 6 committee hearing is finally over – and Republicans are scared
But the whole picture would be hard to see, as much of the preparation is shrouded in dark-money secrecy, with funding channels channeled through front groups that do not need to reveal who controls them.
Right now, we have mysteries like Georgia. Georgia’s foreign secretary was Brad Raffensperger, who was personally pressured by Trump to “find” 11,779 votes, which led to a change of state in favor of Trump. Georgia was groundless for some of Trump’s most outspoken and ridiculous legal claims about the election results – such as the “Kraken” case in which the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chवेvez accused Dominion of rigging voting machines. Georgia is where the Rule of Law Protection Fund has drawn up its plan. Georgia also saw efforts by Trump voters to create an alternative slate.
Attempts were then made to use the power of the Department of Justice to attack Georgia’s election results. For this campaign, someone named Jeffrey Clark, an unidentified relative, was the acting head of the department’s civil department due to pre-election DOJ vacancies. Clark wrote a letter alleging that he was investigating allegations of voter fraud in Georgia. Of course, we don’t know if Clark actually wrote the letter himself; He had no expertise in the field and the evidence suggests that the White House Communications Office was involved. Either way, on New Year’s Eve 2020, Trump sought to install Clarke as acting attorney general, until then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and his entourage threatened to resign en masse.
As Georgia’s tactics began, efforts shifted to Washington. The Rule of Law Defense Fund – the same group called in Atlanta a few months ago – carried out a robot call just hours before Jan. 6, urging followers to “march to the Capitol building and call Congress to stop the theft.” President Trump whipped the rebels at the rally and sent them to the Capitol below Pennsylvania Avenue. There was violence.
After that, many of these actors quickly closed the ranks. The RAGA leader, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, has denied any knowledge of RoboCall, but has refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden is a “properly elected and legally serving” president of the United States. At the end of the Trump administration, Clark got a job at a right-wing dark money group.
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Anonymity makes dark money affordable, we probably can’t add all the dots between these dark-money groups, Trump’s Georgia craze and the January 6 riots. We don’t know who paid for the planning Law Protection Fund Rules“War Games”; We do not know how Jeffrey Clark entered the attorney general’s office to attack Georgia’s election results, where his letter came from, or who paid him when he left; We don’t know who was behind the group like Women for America First, which drafted most of the January 6 bills. Rally
We don’t know who was behind the secret pro-Trump “war game” or how Jeffrey Clark entered the attorney general’s office or who was behind the groups that paid for the January 6 rally.
Successful investigations often “follow the money.” But when money flows through anonymous channels, investigators hit the impenetrable dead ends. The selection committee must rely on text, email, testimony and other documents to present its case. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our political system does not need to be helped and encouraged to destroy our democracy.
For starters, we can apply the rules to books. Groups 501 (c) (4) are non-profit organizations, such as the Rule of Law Defense Fund and Women for America First. Because of this, they are not required to disclose their donors, but they are not allowed to spend more than half of their funds on political activities. Is anyone checking the observance of those rules?
Expenditure reports from 501 (c) (4) groups to the IRS may differ significantly from those they report to the Federal Election Commission. Submitting conflicting reports to two federal agencies completes a prima facie definition of a criminal false statement. There is enough speculation for the Treasury Department, the FEC and the Justice Department to take a look. Do they have
Although dark-money groups can hide their influence from the IRS and the public, this does not mean that grand juries do not have access to that information. In the Watergate investigation, the courts ruled that executive privileges would also have to be awarded to a grand jury investigative subpoena. But investigators won’t get what they’re asking for – or subpoena.
The strongest solution is to reveal who spends to influence our politics. My Disclosure Act requires election spending groups – including Super PAC and 501 (c) (4) dark-money groups – to disclose those who have donated $ 10,000 or more during the election cycle. Pass this law and let the American people know who funded the January 6 uprising.
The dark channels of influence that have corrupted our politics for years have been used to plan and execute the January 6 coup attempt. The American people need to know who the planners are and what they want – and we need to help them find them.
Read more about the January 6 House Committee and its upcoming hearing: