When 17 state attorneys general filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to consider reversing President-elect Joe Biden’s victories in four key swing states, they were widely jeered for trying to subvert democracy. When the Court roundly rejected their petition, they were chastised for having attached their names, and taxpayer resources, to an constitutionally absurd and clearly doomed legal fight.
But all that criticism hasn’t deterred at least one official involved in the effort, who is now using it to raise money for his future political endeavors.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt was one of 17 state AGs that asked the Supreme Court to effectively overturn the 2020 election. On the same day that the court tossed the case, Schmitt’s campaign committee began running advertisements on Google directing visitors to the campaign’s page on the GOP fundraising platform WinRed.
“Missouri will defend election integrity at every turn. Donate today to help!” the ads declared.
Three versions of the ad ran on Google on Dec. 11, according to the platform’s political ad disclosure database. That morning, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling, rejecting the states’ standing to bring the suit in the first place and dealing a terminal blow to efforts by President Donald Trump and his allies to nullify the results of last month’s presidential election.
Schmitt won his bid for a second term as the state attorney general in November, and is not term-limited. His campaign committee did not respond to a request for comment on its recent fundraising efforts.
The sums that Schmitt’s team spent on the ads are relatively small—$100 or less for each of the three that ran on Friday. But they further illustrate the degree to which the Trump-led attempts to challenge the election results—no matter how far-fetched they may be—have turned into veritable cash cows for office-holders associated with them.
The Trump campaign itself has raised millions of dollars through fundraising solicitations that invoke false conspiracy theories about the election. Little of that money has actually gone towards its post-hoc efforts to invalidate what neutral observers have almost uniformly described as one of the most secure and reliable presidential elections in modern times.
Similar state-level political fundraising efforts have invoked Trump’s cause in attempts to solicit contributions, even as their own stake in the supposed election fraud conspiracy is at best tenuous. The Republican Party of Florida has sought to invoke GOP complaints about supposed election irregularities to fill its own coffers, despite Trump having won the state.
“While states across the country continue to count votes and undergo legal battles, Florida has proudly led as an example of what a fair, transparent, and speedy election process looks like,” declared a recent fundraising email from the state GOP. “But after seeing the numerous allegations of fraud and corruption across the country, we need to ensure that key safeguards are put in place for the 2022 elections right now. Please make an early contribution to our 2022 Election Integrity Fund to keep Florida’s elections free, fair, and secure.”