January 6 panel subpoenas Nevada fake electors McDonald, DeGraffenreid

By: and - January 28, 2022 12:33 pm

The Nevada State Republican Party posted this picture on social media after party chairman Michael McDonald, center, and five other Republicans signed a fake certificate in December 2020 falsely claiming that Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election in Nevada. Although not one of the fake electors, standing at the left is Jim Marchant, a 2020 election denier and conspiracy theorist who is also the Republican Party’s nominee for secretary of state, the office that supervises elections in Nevada.

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas Friday to 14 fake electors from seven states, including Nevada State Republican Party Michael McDonald and state party vice chairman James DeGraffenreid.

The committee is seeking information “about your role and participation in the purported slate of electors casting votes for Donald Trump and, to the extent relevant, your role in the events of January 6, 2021,” read the subpoenas.

“The existence of these purported alternate-elector votes was used as a justification to delay or block the certification of the election during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” the subpoenas say, citing a memo from Trump legal advisor John Eastman laying out the steps to overturn the 2020 election.

“We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme,” said Committee chairman Benny Thompson (D-MS) in a statement announcing the subpoenas. 

The Nevada Republican Party publicized the illegitimate signing of fake electors, which occurred outside the Legislative Building in Carson City on Dec. 14, 2020 — the same day the legitimate signing was held virtually. In addition to McDonald and DeGraffenreid, Nevada’s fake document was signed by Duward James Hindle III, Jesse Law, Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice.

Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won Nevada by more than 30,600 votes, and no proof of widespread voter fraud has been found.

The illegitimate election documents from Republicans in Nevada and the six other states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were submitted to Congress and the National Archives.

The documents were first obtained and publicized by the watchdog group American Oversight in March 2021. The fake signing ceremonies in December 2020 were initially viewed as little more than a political stunt. But the fake electors have receiving renewed interest since the House Select Committee earlier this month revealed it was looking into the documents as evidence of a possible coordinated conspiracy involving the Trump administration itself.

The Select Committee Friday subpoenaed who listed themselves as state elector chairman and secretary on their respective state’s fake certification that was sent to Congress. In Nevada, McDonald was listed as chairman, and DeGraffenreid as secretary.

Illegitimate election certification documents from New Mexico and Pennsylvania included language making their claims less brazen. For instance, New Mexico’s letter read “on the understanding that it might later be determined that we are the duly elected and qualified Electors…” suggesting the document’s validity was contingent upon proving claims of election fraud.

But Nevada’s version did no such tapering. It begins by outright claiming that the six Republicans are “the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Nevada.”

Under the subpoenas issued Friday, fake electors are to begin appearing before the committee for depositions starting Feb. 16 with the signers of Arizona’s fake certificate. McDonald, DeGraffenreid are to appear before the committee for deposition on Feb. 24.

In his statement, Thompson said the panel encourages the fake certificate signers “to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”

McDonald has attempted to distance the fake electors from the January 6 attack. “Obviously I don’t think anybody saw what was going to take place or would ever in their wildest dreams assume that there would be any type of actions where someone would storm the Capitol and disrupt Congress in their votes,” McDonald told the Las Vegas Review Journal last week. “Obviously, that was unforeseen circumstances.”

Earlier this week Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN that federal prosecutors are looking at the fake electoral certificates.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.

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