January 23, 2022

Professional-Trump Group Liberty Middle for God and Nation Invented Voter Fraud Claims Months Earlier than Election 2020

5 min read

A well-funded far-right group—that made inroads with Stop The Steal organizations, paid a former police captain greater than $200,000 to hunt ballots, and have become entangled in a roadside stickup—was making struggle plans for Election Day 2020 months forward of time, paperwork reveal.

The perimeter group, the Liberty Middle for God and Nation (LCGC), led a profitable fundraising blitz within the run-up to the election and quietly networked with now-notorious election denialists. Their work got here to gentle in October of that 12 months when former Houston Police captain Mark Aguirre allegedly rammed his SUV into a person’s truck, pressured the person onto the bottom at gunpoint, and accused him of transporting 750,000 fraudulent ballots. Aguirre’s claims had been baseless—his sufferer was an harmless air conditioner technician—and no widespread voter fraud has been discovered within the 2020 election. Aguirre was indicted this week for aggravated assault with a lethal weapon.

The prison fees outed the LCGC, which had quietly moved tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} within the title of stopping voter fraud within the months earlier than the election, launching an internet site and fundraisers within the months earlier than Nov. 3.

Within the fall of 2020, as Donald Trump trailed Joe Biden within the polls, Republican activists sought methods to sow doubt within the occasion of a doable Trump loss. Aguirre and LCGC had been amongst them.

“We’re non-public investigators within the State of Texas who’ve uncovered an unlawful poll harvesting operation in Harris County,” Aguirre wrote in a GoFundMe marketing campaign in late September 2020. “Our group is spearheaded by Mark A. Aguirre retired Captain of the Houston Police Division Lic.#C14256. We now have collected proof from 2018 displaying the huge absentee mail in voting fraud. We’re at present within the means of gathering extra proof and knowledge that can instantly impression the upcoming 2020 election.”

Aguirre’s description of himself as a “retired” police captain (he’d really been fired for a disastrous raid) was the least of the fundraiser’s lies. Though the fundraiser shed little gentle on Aguirre’s “group,” the fundraiser was launched in the future after Aguirre signed an affidavit in a lawsuit accusing Houston-area Democrats of widespread voter fraud.

The lawsuit, filed by Republican activist Steven Hotze, accused Texas Democrats of a plot to defraud voters, partially by providing early voting and extra voting places. A few of its claims rested on supposed proof collected by Aguirre and a former FBI agent who, like Aguirre, later grew to become a non-public investigator.

“Based mostly on interviews, assessment of paperwork, and different info, I’ve recognized the people in control of the poll harvesting scheme,” Aguirre wrote.

Aguirre’s involvement with Hotze went deeper than the lawsuit prompt. In late August, in line with enterprise information, Hotze shaped the LCGC. The group’s earliest net presence known as on Trump to designate three days “for nationwide repentance, fasting, and prayer.”

Hotze was already a known figure in Texas and Republican politics. An anti-LGBT crusader for the reason that Eighties, Hotze made inroads with the state’s conservatives, aided by cash from his medical apply where he offered “hormone replacement.” Earlier than the 2020 election, Hotze filed a flurry of lawsuits trying to limit expanded voting in Texas, like early and drive-through voting. In September and October 2020, he additionally charged headlong into conspiracy theories concerning the upcoming election, making lengthy Fb movies and posts detailing what he stated could be a Democratic effort to steal 2020 by way of voter fraud in Harris County, Texas.

“The Socialist Democrats know that Harris County, the place Houston is situated, is floor zero for the upcoming normal election in Texas and nationwide,” he wrote in a submit shared by the LCGC. ”As Harris County goes, so goes Texas. As Texas goes, so goes the nation.” (This isn’t true, both of Harris County’s significance in Texas elections, or of Texas’s function in nationwide elections.)

As a way to crack down on alleged fraud pre-election, the LCGC allegedly employed Aguirre to analyze individuals it suspected of working pretend poll rings. In accordance with charging paperwork, Aguirre admitted to surveilling the house of air-conditioning technician David Lopez-Zuniga, on the suspicion that the Houston man was working a scheme to power youngsters to signal 750,000 fraudulent ballots. Aguirre allegedly rammed Lopez-Zuniga’s automotive off the highway, pressured him onto the bottom at gunpoint, and knelt on his again earlier than an precise police officer was capable of intervene. The day after the incident, the LCGC despatched $211,400 to Aguirre’s checking account.

The LCGC was pulling in huge cash, its fundraisers recommend. Along with Aguirre’s GoFundMe, which earned a minimum of $2,600, the group operated its personal GoFundMe, which raised nearly $70,000 from mid-October to mid-December.

The LCGC additionally registered as a nonprofit—a standing that might be helpful when networking with a burgeoning motion of voter fraud hoaxers.

Shortly after Trump’s loss in November 2020, an internet site known as Each Authorized Vote purported to indicate proof that Trump had really gained. The positioning billed itself as one thing of a supergroup among the many rising area of election-denialist organizations.

“This web site is a labor of affection by Americans,” Each Authorized Vote’s now-deleted “about us” web page reads. “Our Founding Sponsors: The Financial WarRoom, Allied Safety Operations Group, Liberty Middle for God and Nation are constructing a coalition involved with defending our sacred elections from tampering and fraud.”

The Financial Conflict Room is an online collection run by Kevin Freeman, a senior fellow at an Islamophobic thinktank, the Colorado Times Recorder noted when an area politico promoted the Each Authorized Vote web site.

Allied Safety Operations Group (ASOG) grew to become infamous in its personal proper, after it was concerned in an effort to “audit” voting machines in Antrim County, Michigan. Its founder, Russell Ramsland Jr., authored a report about their findings that was wildly deceptive, partially as a result of he confused the states of Michigan and Minnesota, utilizing their voting knowledge interchangeably. The ASOG report however grew to become a well-liked doc in Trumpist circles, with Rudy Giuliani citing it as proof of fraud.

The ASOG was additionally a leading candidate to conduct a doomed “audit” in Maricopa County, Arizona, though they had been dropped after observers pointed to their botched Antrim County report. Texts from officials involved within the Maricopa County audit reveal that ASOG was additionally working with Phil Waldron, a retired Military colonel credited with distributing a now-infamous PowerPoint presentation on how lawmakers may invalidate the 2020 election and set up Trump as president.

The LCGC didn’t return requests for remark about its relationship with the ASOG. However a minimum of one ASOG fundraiser underscored a monetary hyperlink between the 2 teams.

“ASOG urgently wants your assist to proceed their vitally vital analysis,” learn the fundraising plea on an election-denial web site early this 12 months. The fundraiser inspired donors to offer their cash to LCGC, which was a nonprofit.

“For 501c3 Donations: Write checks to Liberty Middle for God and Nation,” the fundraiser stated. It didn’t embrace LCGC’s handle in Katy, Texas. As an alternative it requested supporters to ship cash to ASOG’s Addison, Texas workplaces, the place a staffer “will get them to LCGC and insure your donation receipt.”

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