The latest indictment of former president Donald Trump in Georgia included charges for 18 of his allies – including disgraced far-right attorney John Eastman.
You might know him best as the operative who presented Trump and former vice president Mike Pence with a six-point plan that was essentially a ‘how-to’ guide for throwing out official electors and blocking certification of the election. Or maybe you remember Eastman as a speaker at the rally that sparked the violent January 6th attempted insurrection.
Watch the news of john eastman's indictment in georgia >>
But Eastman’s indictment in Georgia shines a spotlight on the robust extremist network behind him, which is still working to challenge legitimate elections and subvert democracy across the country. Here’s a look at the far-right organizations that have made Eastman one of the far-right’s most powerful election deniers:
John Eastman is a longtime Federalist Society member, including a tenure as the chair of the organization’s Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group. Eastman’s involvement with efforts to overturn the 2020 election was so alarming that they led to calls for corporations to halt contributions to the Federalist Society altogether.
And that’s no small ask of power-hungry C-suites. The Federalist Society is the most powerful and far-reaching legal group for conservative lawyers and judges, thanks to the leadership of conservative kingpin Leonard Leo. Over the past four decades, the Federalist Society has grown its efforts to influence the federal judiciary and has ties to all six sitting conservative Supreme Court Justices. With support from Senator Mitch McConnell and Trump White House counsel Don McGahn, Leo ensured that nearly 90% of Trump’s judicial nominees were affiliated with the Federalist Society.
Eastman isn’t the only far-right Federalist Society member linked to efforts to overturn the election. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are also longtime members.
Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF):
Eastman has been behind PILF — a leading anti-voting rights organization — since its inception. As a member of the board, he’s widely considered a leader within the group.
It’s a position that has put him in partnership with PILF board chair Cleta Mitchell, who was at the center of Donald Trump’s attempts to dispute the 2020 election results. Besides participating in the phone call where Trump pressured Georgia election officials to “find” more votes for his campaign, Mitchell also reportedly introduced Eastman to Trump.
With these two at the helm, it’s no shock that PILF was heavily involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including:
- Working with the powerful corporate “bill mill” American Legislative Exchange Council to develop a playbook for challenging election results should Trump lose.
- Coordinating efforts among state legislators and election officials to prevent voting expansion in the 2020 election.
- Suing officials in Detroit, Michigan; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Palm Beach County, Florida; Harris County, Texas; Maryland; and North Carolina in an attempt to purge voter rolls.
Even after January 6th, PILF has continued to promote unfounded election conspiracies and lead efforts to roll back voting rights, including training a legion of activists to harass local election officials and disrupt elections. PILF has also supported sweeping election laws that disenfranchise voters in key swing states such as Florida and Georgia.
John Eastman has been a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute for 30 years and now serves as the founder and director of the institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.
Thanks to Eastman’s influence, Claremont is a driving force in conservative efforts to rewrite voting laws and remake the electoral system based on conspiracies about the 2020 election – pushing election conspiracies well into 2022.
In addition to helping state-level voter suppression efforts, Claremont has kept Eastman busy submitting amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. In the 2021 and 2022 Supreme Court terms, Eastman filed amicus briefs in seven separate cases – including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, and West Virginia v. EPA, which limited the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Eastman’s network is just a corner of the far-right web of influence behind the MAGA plot to upend our democracy. Follow us on Twitter for more updates as we reveal the ties and lies of its major players.