Conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell’s participation in President Donald Trump’s phone call to Georgia election officials demanding that votes be “recalculated” in his favor is being investigated by her law firm.
Prominent firm Foley & Lardner, headquartered in Milwaukee, issued a statement Monday saying: “We are concerned by Ms. Mitchell’s participation in the January 2 conference call and are working to understand her involvement more thoroughly.” Mitchell is a partner in the firm.
Mitchell, who has worked with a number of right-wing organizations, was recorded on the conference call along with Trump when the president demanded that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” just enough votes to make him the winner in the state he lost by nearly 12,000 votes.
Several legal experts say the call may have violated a federal law prohibiting a federal official from interfering in a state election.
The Foley & Lardner statement made it clear that the firm is “not representing any parties seeking to contest the results of the presidential election. In November, the firm made a policy decision not to take on any representation of any party in connection with matters related to the presidential election results.”
Attorneys were allowed to observe election recounts and “similar actions on a voluntary basis … as private citizens so long as they did not act as legal advisers.”
Mitchell apparently missed the memo. Just last week she signed a letter issued by the Conservative Action Committee calling on the Senate to investigate election results. She identified herself in the Dec. 30 message as a lawyer but didn’t identify her law firm. (She did name her law firm in an earlier CAP statement calling for the nation to “re-open” amid the COVID-19 crisis.)
Mitchell also began working early last year with the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council to strategize on challenging the election in the event Trump lost. “Everyone wants Trump to win,” Mitchell said in October at a conservative election conference where she was the featured speaker.
Lisa Nelson, the CEO of ALEC, announced to members in February that the organization had been working with Mitchell on “action items that legislators can take to question the validity of an election,” according to a recording obtained by the watchdog group Documented, which investigates corporate influence on public policy.
ALEC is a powerful group of corporate-funded state legislators working to block progressive voters from elections or dilute their power through gerrymandering and increasing restrictive voter registration requirements. It’s also the prime author of the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws in several states that make it legal to use deadly force against people perceived as a threat.
ALEC has also been fighting to repeal the Constitution’s 17th Amendment so that U.S. senators are no longer chosen by voters but by their state legislatures, where Republicans have worked for decades to increase their power.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) expressed support for eliminating Senate elections a year after he was first voted into office. Cruz is now leading the fight to challenge voters’ choice of President-elect Joe Biden, who won the Nov. 3 election by 51.4% of the vote and carried the Electoral College by 306 to 232.
Mitchell has not responded to a request to comment from HuffPost.
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