Washington, D.C. — Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report revealing the top corporate donors of the Michigan politicians pushing for election audits and peddling baseless 2020 election conspiracies, including those connected to extremist groups and with histories of anti-vaccine rhetoric.
The report focuses on state representatives Steve Carra, Beth Griffin, and Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo, who, in light of the Maricopa County ‘audit,’ have joined far-right state-level officials across the country requesting the Arizona-style audit be conducted in their home state at taxpayers’ expense. Accountable.US called on the corporations and trade associations that have supported the campaigns of these representatives to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars to explain whether these extreme values align with their own.
“These fringe representatives are willing to undermine our democracy just to score political points with the twice-impeached former president by keeping his Big Lie alive,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “They would rather fan the flames of insurrection by spreading unhinged conspiracy theories than accept the will of the people. It is clear that no amount of evidence that the election was fair will satisfy those who are acting in bad faith. The question is: why haven’t the corporations that have supported these anti-democratic representatives in the past condemned their rhetoric?”
While their demands are outlandish, this isn’t the first time these state-level officials have put their constituents on the backburner to spread harmful conspiracy theories:
- Steve Carra: Carra sponsored legislation calling for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election, with particular attention to Detroit. This followed a January 2021 letter he signed, asking Vice President Pence to vote against certifying the electoral results. Carra emerged from an anti-labor, anti-LGBTQ think-tank, the Acton Institute, which had published papers entertaining the idea that child labor laws were flawed, and earned endorsement from the Michigan Freedom Fund, which had been linked to far-right groups such as the Michigan Liberty Militia and the white supremacist group the Proud Boys. Carra also sponsored legislation prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates while arguing for debunked alternative remedies such as Vitamin D and hydroxychloroquine.
- Beth Griffin: Griffin called for a forensic audit of the 2020 election, going so far as to ask for subpoena power and wanting to hold hearings. Griffin was president of a local branch of the anti-Muslim group ACT For America — a group described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the ‘largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.” In the aftermath of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a constituent received a response from Griffin’s office admitting that the state representative supported the people who attended the events surrounding the Capitol insurrection in sentiments that echoed Trump’s Big Lie. Griffin served as spokesperson for the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots and, as a candidate for office, refused to commit to expanding protections to LGBTQ people under Michigan’s civil rights law.
- Kristina Karamo: Despite Trump’s loss in Michigan by over 154,000 votes, Karamo pushed Trump’s Big Lie and other voter fraud conspiracy theories, and called for an election audit in Michigan, even though the Republican controlled legislature was against it. Karamo spent weeks challenging the election results in the state, going on far-right media outlets as a self-proclaimed “whistleblower,” claiming to have seen irregularities in the processing of absentee ballots but failing to provide any evidence. Karamo spat on attempts to control the coronavirus outbreak across the country, referring to vaccine education efforts as “a ruler versus subjects mentality.” Karamo also stoked distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine, accusing the government of trying to force medical treatments on people. Karamo has used social media to uplift a Tweet from Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has connections to the far right militia movement the “Three Percenters,” implying White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was a communist.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.
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