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Ron Johnson employs fraudulent elector to help bolster his struggling campaign

Despite trying to distance himself from attempts to overturn the 2020 election, one person named on an invalid electoral ballot recently sent a fundraising email on Johnson’s behalf.

By Josh Israel - August 24, 2022
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Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has spent months trying to explain away his role in supporting attempts to prevent the Electoral College’s certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. But on Monday, he sent around a fundraising solicitation authored by one of the fake electors included in that attempt — who now works for his reelection campaign.

A recent fundraising email, first shared publicly by the political opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century — is attributed to campaign staffer Pam Travis, who asks readers for an immediate small-dollar donation for Johnson’s campaign.

“Hey Friend — we’re placing our yard sign order at midnight and are just $400 shy of our printing goal,” the email claims. “I know we can get there if we have YOUR support! Can you chip in $4 before midnight?”

Travis is a longtime Republican activist who was party to efforts by conservatives to submit invalid elector ballots in support of former President Donald Trump in November 2020. She was one of the Wisconsin Republican Party’s proposed electors who would have been allowed to cast a vote in the Electoral College if Trump had not lost the popular vote in the state to Biden.

Still, even though Biden earned all 10 of Wisconsin’s electors, Travis and the other Republicans fraudulently gathered and attempted to cast electoral ballots in favor of Trump anyway. Similar pro-Trump slates were also attempted in at least six other states carried by Biden.

Johnson was part of a small group of GOP senators — led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — who announced that they would vote to reject Biden’s electors during a scheduled joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, unless a commission was appointed to audit the results.

No such audit happened, and after the counting of the Electoral College was interrupted by the attempted insurrection following the U.S. Capitol Riots, Johnson ultimately voted to sustain Biden’s victory.

In June 2022, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol revealed that Johnson had played a role in attempts to send the fraudulent electoral ballots to Vice President Mike Pence, minutes prior to the joint session.

The panel released text messages provided to them that were between Johnson’s chief of staff Sean Riley and Pence’s director of legislative affairs Chris Hodgson, showing that Riley told Hodgson, “Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise.” In subsequent texts he explained that it was an “Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them.”

Hodgson replied to Riley, “Do not give that to him.”

Johnson initially claimed that he was uninvolved, telling CNN, “I had no hand in it,” but he later acknowledged to a local radio station that he had coordinated the attempted handoff.

On Friday, Johnson tried to again distance himself from those events when asked whether he would testify about his role before the House investigating committee.

“I had virtually no involvement,” Johnson answered. “Literally, my involvement lasted seconds, OK?”

But Travis, one of the proposed electors in the slate that Johnson’s staff attempted to share, has been on Johnson’s campaign payroll since at least April. She has already gotten paid more than $10,000 for her work.

A spokesperson for Johnson’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Johnson, whose approval ratings are among the lowest of any incumbent senator, is facing an uphill race for reelection against Democratic nominee and current Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes this November. In another mass email sent on Monday, Johnson’s campaign acknowledged that he is currently “seven points behind his radical Democrat [sic] opponent” in polls.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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