Pro-Trump Group Donor Sues Administration Over Failure To Expose Election Fraud
A pro-Trump group that promised to challenge the Nov. 3 election results and expose fraud was sued by a North Carolina money manager who donated $2.5 million to the cause but says he didn’t get his money’s worth. Pro-Trump Group Donor Sues Administration Over Failure To Expose Election Fraud
Fred Eshelman, founder of Eshelman Ventures LLC, wants his money back, saying he “regularly and repeatedly” asked for updates on the project but his “requests were consistently met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Houston federal court.
Houston-based True the Vote Inc. had promised a multi-pronged plan to “investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election,” according to the lawsuit.
In the weeks after the election, True the Vote filed four lawsuits, but it dropped them all last week. “While we stand by the voters’ testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path,” the group announced on its website on Nov. 17.
Despite numerous allegations of voter fraud and irregularities from President Donald Trump and his supporters, no evidence has emerged of widespread problems that would have changed the results of the election which President-elect Joe Biden won with 306 electoral votes.
Validate the Vote
True the Vote called its effort to reverse the election results Validate the Vote. The plan included filing lawsuits in seven swing states, collecting whistleblower complaints, galvanizing Republican legislative support in key states, and conducting “sophisticated data modeling and statistical analysis to identify potential illegal or fraudulent balloting,” according to Eshelman’s lawsuit.
The money manager said he agreed to support the plan and wired the group $2 million on Nov. 5 and $500,000 a week later after the group’s president told him that more money might be needed to achieve their goals, according to the suit.
When True the Vote failed to provide any reports on its progress and with certification deadlines approaching, Eshelman said it became obvious the group wouldn’t be able to execute the plan he agreed to support. So, he asked for his money back.
True the Vote had offered him $1 million if he would drop any plans for a lawsuit, he said in the complaint.
Eshelman is the former CEO of Pharmaceutical Product Development and founding chairman of Furiex Pharmaceuticals.
He recently donated $100 million to the pharmacy school of his alma mater, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
True the Vote didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is Eshelman v. True the Vote, Inc., 20-cv-04034, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).
Trump, RNC Raised $207.5 Million After Election Day
The president, who is eyeing another run in 2024, got a fundraising windfall in opposing the 2020 results.
President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised more than $207.5 million in the weeks since Election Day, his campaign said Thursday, as their claims of voting fraud have generated a financial windfall that could be deployed in future political ventures.
Despite an aggressive legal effort by the president’s attorneys in many states, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud and numerous federal and state officials have disputed the campaign’s fraud claims.
The size of the postelection fundraising haul between Nov. 4 and Nov. 23 is unprecedented for a losing candidate, much less an outgoing president. The fundraising total ensures Mr. Trump will have a considerable war chest at his disposal as a major figure in the Republican Party, especially as he contemplates a second White House bid.
Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, nodded at that ambition in a joint statement with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announcing the fundraising total, saying Mr. Trump “remains the leader and source of energy for the Republican Party.”
Most political committees, including for presidential candidates, must file postelection fundraising reports by midnight Thursday to the Federal Election Commission. Those reports will include more details about how the $207.5 million has been deployed.
That total is spread across the Trump campaign, two joint-fundraising committees, the RNC and a new political committee Mr. Trump set up in the days after the election.
Since Nov. 3, the campaign has been flooding supporters with email and text-message appeals for donations as Mr. Trump challenges the election outcome. States have moved forward in certifying victory for President-elect Joe Biden.
Portions of those donations initially went to retire campaign debt from the general election despite being billed as funding Mr. Trump’s legal challenges to the results in several swing states.
The campaign’s first “election defense fund” pitch to small donors came the day after the election. One early text message said Mr. Trump was demanding a recount in Wisconsin. “Pres. Trump is calling on YOU to give us the resources to FIGHT BACK,” the message said. But the linked donation page noted in the fine print that half of any donation would be used for campaign debt retirement.
Within a week after Election Day, Mr. Trump had set up a leadership committee called Save America, to receive some of the new fundraising. Such committees can be used to finance travel and support other political candidates.
According to the fine print on the latest solicitations, the first 75% of each contribution goes to the Save America committee up to a $5,000 limit.
In the statement Thursday, Mr. Stepien indicated that Mr. Trump would continue portraying U.S. elections as corrupt as he raises money for future elections, including the 2022 midterms.
Recounts in swing states won by Mr. Biden, such as Georgia and Wisconsin, have found only small shifts in vote tallies that aren’t enough to change the outcome. Attorney General William Barr also said this week that the Justice Department hasn’t found evidence of widespread voter fraud that could reverse Mr. Biden’s election victory.
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