WASHINGTON — Law enforcement officials, members of Congress and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are digging into the role that fake slates of electors played in efforts by former President Donald Trump to cling to power after he lost the 2020 election.
In recent days, the state attorneys general in Michigan and New Mexico have asked the Justice Department to investigate fake slates of electors that falsely claimed that Trump, not Joe Biden, had won their states. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday demanding an investigation into the same issue in his state.
And this week, members of the House committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 riot said that they, too, were examining the part that the bogus electoral slates played in Trump’s scheme to overturn the election.
The false slates, put forth in seven contested swing states, appear to have been part of a strategy by Trump’s allies to disrupt the normal workings of the Electoral College. After election officials in those states sent official lists of electors who had voted for Biden to the Electoral College, the fake slates claimed that Trump had won.
“I’ve had people in my district ask me what’s being done with these folks,” said Pocan, who forwarded the names of the 10 fake pro-Trump electors from his state to Garland in his letter demanding an investigation.
Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan said this week that she believed there was enough evidence to charge 16 Republicans in her state with submitting false certificates claiming Trump won her state’s electoral votes in 2020. She said she had handed over to federal prosecutors the results of an investigation into Republicans who signed documents falsely identifying themselves as Michigan’s electors. New Mexico’s attorney general, Hector Balderas Jr., referred similar allegations to federal law enforcement. And a local prosecutor in Wisconsin also recommended that state or federal prosecutors investigate fake electors in that state.
If investigators determine that the fake slates were meant to improperly influence the election, those who created them could in theory be charged with falsifying voting documents, mail fraud or even a conspiracy to defraud the United States.