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Lawsuit Claims Organization Took Millions to Litigate Election but Didn't Follow Through

Wooden judge gavel, legal book, letters vote and numbers 2020. Concept of election in year 2020.
By Joseph Fawbush, Esq. on December 01, 2020 2:44 PM

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, True the Vote, Inc., a pro-Trump 501(c)(3) organization, took several million dollars from a donor to contest the election in its "Validate the Vote 2020" program. As designed, the program would fund litigation, conduct marketing efforts, and solicit whistleblowers. The organization subsequently filed four lawsuits in key battleground states. However, 10 days after filing the lawsuits, the organization voluntarily dismissed all of them. The organization did not produce any evidence of fraud.

Fred Eshelman, a North Carolina man who helped finance the lawsuits, is seeking his $2.5 million donation back, claiming that the group misrepresented how they would use the money. He is alleging breach of contract and other claims. The lawsuit seeks the full $2.5 million plus attorneys' fees and additional costs.

Sticking to Its Story

True the Vote has responded, according to a local news outlet in Houston, claiming that the money was used to fund a whistleblower program and that "barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path." They appear to be maintaining that fraud did occur despite having no evidence.

They are also alleging that Eshelman's anger came after he directed them to give $1 million of his donation to a non-profit they had not worked with or even heard of. For his part, Eshelman cites numerous instances in his complaint when he requested information on the work being performed and instead received "vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises of follow-up."

Lack of Results Not Surprising

Lawyers contesting the election in court have had a difficult time. Unlike the 2000 election, there were no legitimate issues over the vote tabulation, even in closely contested states. So far, efforts to litigate the election have been a failure, with case after case being tossed out. Despite the lack of evidence and a resulting loss in federal and state courts across the country, 70 to 80 percent of registered Republicans believe the election was rigged.

While somewhat successful in swaying public opinion, the Trump campaign has foundered in litigation - which requires attorneys to be candid, avoid frivolous claims, and provide evidence. True the Vote, Inc., is by no means the only organization to last only a few days in court.

Related Resources

USPS Cannot Account for 300,000 Ballots On Election Day, Fails to Comply With Sweep Order (FindLaw's D.C. Circuit)

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Again Upholds Transparency in Political Advertising Donations (FindLaw's U.S. D.C. Circuit)

11th Circuit Finds Georgia County's Redrawn School Districts Dilute Voting Power of Black Residents (FindLaw's U.S. 11th Circuit)

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