WASHINGTON, DC – The bombshell indictment of former President Donald Trump released yesterday introduced six co-conspirators who prosecutors allege aided Trump in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Their inclusion in the historic indictment sparks a broader discussion of the key players central to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election —and the extremist influence network behind them still at play.

While the Justice Department’s investigation unfolds, the well-funded dark network behind Trump and his co-conspirators is hard at work threatening our democracy and chipping away at Americans’ rights,” said Accountable.US senior advisor Kyle Herrig.

“The violent attack on the Capitol was a coordinated effort between these extremist MAGA groups, major Republican donors, conservative lawmakers, and special interests. These forces propped up the dangerous conspiracies and harmful lies that resulted in the deadly January 6th attack — and they’re still pulling the strings behind the scenes of our politics. These far-right groups must be held accountable for their ongoing work to undermine our American democracy,” Herrig continued.

Meet the extremist influence network behind the new Trump indictment:

Federalist Society: John Eastman, who has been confirmed as “unindicted co-conspirator No. 2” in the indictment, is a notable Federalist Society member who served as chair of the organization’s Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group. Eastman’s involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election and participation in the rally that preceded the January 6th attempted insurrection led to calls for corporations to halt contributions to the Federalist Society.

The Federalist Society has close ties to the last five Supreme Court nominees appointed by Republican presidents, and its membership includes numerous individuals who were instrumental in the attempted insurrection, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO). The organization’s longtime executive vice president and current co-chair is Leonard Leo, conservative kingpin and Republican moneyman who has, over decades, manipulated the judiciary to undermine American democracy.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF): After joining the organization at its inception, John Eastman served on the board of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and was widely considered a leader within the group. Eastman worked closely with Cleta Mitchell, PILF board chair at the center of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election who reportedly first introduced Eastman to Trump.

PILF remains at the forefront of efforts to disenfranchise voters. Since the Capitol riot, the organization has promoted unfounded evidence that the 2020 election was stolen and led efforts to roll back voting rights. PILF also submitted an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Moore v. Harper, pushing the Court to adopt a fringe legal theory that would have upended elections and threatened American democracy.

Claremont Institute: John Eastman has been a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute for 30 years and serves as the founder and director of Claremont’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. While at the center of the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Eastman continued to submit amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Claremont Institute, from Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to West Virginia v. EPA to Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College — facilitating Claremont’s support for the rolling back of abortion rights, critical environmental protections, and affirmative action.

Thanks to Eastman’s prominence within the group, the Claremont Institute emerged as a driving force in conservative efforts to rewrite voting laws and remake the election system based on conspiracies about the 2020 election. Claremont continued to push election conspiracies well into 2022, even helping state lawmakers draft legislation to make election laws more favorable to Republicans.

Center for Renewing America (CRA): Jeffrey Clark is senior fellow and director of litigation at the Center for Renewing America. The Center was founded by Trump confidant and former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, and is a project of the Conservative Partnership Institute run by Mark Meadows and Cleta Mitchell.

The Center has strongly opposed voting rights legislation such as the For the People Act (H.R.1), claiming that measures like automatic voter registration and vote-by-mail would threaten “election integrity.” CRA senior fellow Ken Cuccinelli’s Election Transparency Initiative also opposed H.R.1 and has pushed for state-based election reform laws in states with close 2020 margins.

In 2022, the Center filed IRS complaints against Mark Zuckerberg and the nonprofit Center For Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), to which Zuckerberg substantially contributed in the 2020 election cycle to support election administration. Despite clear evidence that the funding did not impact voter turnout in favor of either political party, the grants sparked right-wing conspiracies. Center for Renewing America’s complaint echoed these conspiracies, claiming that Zuckerberg used the CTCL to “throw” the 2020 election in President Joe Biden’s favor.

Accountable.US launched the Monitoring Influence database to connect the dots between groups like these. Learn more at MonitoringInfluence.org.


back to top