Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
- A watchdog group found Republicans in 7 states tried to falsely certify the election in favor of Donald Trump.
- Groups in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin forged documents.
- Attorneys General in three of those states told Insider how they’re dealing with it.
Some Attorneys General in states where illegitimate electors tried to falsify documents saying Donald Trump won the majority of votes are investigating and considering charges.
Republican supporters of Trump in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin submitted documents to Congress falsely claiming Trump won the states after the majority of votes actually went to Joe Biden, according to documents obtained by the watchdog group American Oversight in March 2021.
American Oversight requested all 2020 certificates of electoral votes that weren’t already published in the 2020 Electoral College Results.
“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 said of its findings.
Insider reached out to Attorneys General in each of the states seeking comment on the findings. In Nevada, Attorney General Aaron Ford said his office can’t “confirm or deny the existence of an investigation,” but said the report is on “our radar, and we take seriously any efforts to rob Nevadans of their votes.”
“There has been a sustained effort to invalidate the 2020 election and to downplay the shocking actions that took place afterward. My office cannot and will not accept any efforts to overturn a free and fair election. Voting rights are fundamental to our democratic republic, and we will continue to protect them,” Ford said in a statement.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas told Insider the incident is being reviewed.
“Election laws are the foundation of our democracy and must be respected. While review under state law is ongoing, we have referred this matter to the appropriate federal law enforcement authorities and will provide any assistance they deem necessary,” Balderas said.
In a statement to Insider, Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro’s office said while the “rhetoric and policy were intentionally misleading and purposefully damaging to our democracy” after review, they don’t “believe the incident meets the legal standards for forgery.”
“Pennsylvania Republicans made no secret during the 2020 election certification process that they planned to nominate their own slate of electors and submit their own ballots to perpetuate the Big Lie,” the office said. “These “fake ballots” included a conditional clause that they were only to be used if a court overturned the results in Pennsylvania — which did not happen.”
Attorneys General in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Assistant District Attorney Matthew Westphal said he’d consulted Attorney General Josh Kaul over whether or not to investigate the 10 Republicans who illegitimately certified the vote for Trump.
Westphal said Kaul’s office or federal prosecutors should handle an investigation. The Journal reported that Kaul previously said the matter should be investigated at the federal level.
In Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel told MSNBC: “Under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense.”
American Oversight’s findings come before reports in September 2021 that attorney John Eastman had written a six-page memo that was presented to Trump’s legal team just days before the Capitol riot detailing a plan for overturning the 2020 election. That memo included reference to the forged certificates.
On Thursday, CNN and The Washington Post reported members of Trump’s inner circle, including Rudy Giuliani, coordinated the illegitimate elector scheme.
Giuliani has already been subpoenaed by the select House committee investigating the January 6 riot. The select committee is also looking deeper into the illegitimate elector scheme and the role Trump and his affiliates played in it, Politico reported.
“We want to look at the fraudulent activity that was contained in the preparation of these fake Electoral College certificates,” Rep. Jamie Raskin told Politico. “And then we want to look to see to what extent this was part of a comprehensive plan to overthrow the 2020 election.”