Conservative Group Fighting Vote-By-Mail Is Tied To Powerful Dark Money Network

Megan Everts

The Honest Elections Project is a rebranded conservative group with ties to dark money.

A new conservative group working to restrict voting in the 2020 presidential election is actually just a “rebranded group that is part of a dark money network already helping Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to remake the US federal judiciary,” the Guardian and OpenSecrets report.

  • The organization, called the Honest Elections Project, is “quickly becoming a juggernaut in the escalating fight over voting rights,” as it announced in April that “it was spending $250,000 in advertisements... warning against voting by mail and accusing Democrats of cheating.”
  • Although it may appear to be its own operation, the Honest Elections Project is actually a “legal alias for the Judicial Education Project, a well-financed nonprofit connected to a powerful network of dark money conservative groups.”
  • The Judicial Education Project has been “almost entirely funded by DonorsTrust,” which is “known as a ‘dark money ATM’ backed by the Koch network and other prominent conservative donors.”
  • Additionally, it is closely linked to Leonard Leo, “one of the most powerful people in Washington who has shaped Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to remake the federal judiciary with conservative judges.”

In order to lessen suspicion around the organization, the Judicial Education Project has worked carefully to hide its name changes from public view.

  • In December, its legal name was formally changed to The 85 Fund, and the fund then legally adopted the alias of The Honest Elections Project in February.
  • On the same day in February, The 85 Fund also “registered two other legal aliases… including the Judicial Education Project, its old name,” allowing it to “operate under four different names with little public disclosure that it is the same group.”
  • Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights discussed this matter, saying: “It isn’t any surprise... that our opponents [who] want to constrict access to voting, access to the courts, who are seeking an anti-inclusive, anti-civil rights agenda are one in the same.”

As Republicans are “scaling up their efforts to fight to keep voting restrictions in place ahead of the election,” these organizations will likely continue to be utilized to assist them.

Read more here.

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