- GOP-led legislatures are passing voting and election reform laws in states across the country.
- In a leaked video, a conservative group told donors it’s quietly helping lawmakers draft the bills.
- Many of the bills have been fueled by unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A conservative group told its top donors that it has been quietly working to help state legislatures pass voting laws that will “right the wrongs of November,” according to a leaked video.
Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, said during a private meeting in Arizona last month that the group has even drafted some of the legislation that’s been signed into law.
“We’re working with these state legislatures to make sure they have all of the information they need to draft the bills. In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said in the video, which was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and published by Mother Jones on Thursday.
Republican-controlled legislatures nationwide are seeking to pass voting rights reform, largely fueled by the false and unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter and election fraud in the 2020 election. GOP lawmakers say the bills are about election integrity and restoring trust, while Democrats say they are restrictive and give credence to baseless claims of fraud.
Iowa passed a law in March that cut the state’s early voting period and closed the polls earlier on election day, after Iowans turned out in record numbers in the fall. Georgia passed a high-profile and controversial law overhauling its elections that critics blasted as oppressive.
Texas is also considering new election-related measures that could restrict voting.
“Iowa was the first state that we got to work in, and we did it quickly, and we did it quietly. Honestly, nobody noticed,” Anderson told the group’s donors.
“At the end of the day, the bill that Gov. Kemp signed, and the Georgia legislature marshaled through, had eight key provisions that Heritage recommended,” she said. Another bill being considered in Texas had “19 provisions” that were written by Heritage Action, Anderson said.
The Associated Press reported it was known that Heritage Action, which is a sister organization of the influential conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, was working with lawmakers, but that “it is rare to hear a leader detail how a group masks involvement to give the bills the appearance of broad political support.”
Anderson told AP in a statement that the group is “proud of our work to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
“That work begins at the state level through our grassroots and continues in state legislatures throughout the country,” she said.
Anderson, who also worked in the Trump administration, has pushed unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the past. On Fox News in December, in reference to Georgians newly registering for the runoff election, she said “this is exactly the type of fraud that we have been raising the red flag for months now,” without citing any evidence of fraud. She added “we know that the fraud is real.”
The group, along with former president Donald Trump’s campaign and the US Justice Department, have been unable to find evidence of widespread fraud. But Anderson said the group is motivated by what it believes went wrong in the last election.
“We are going to take the fierce fire that is in every single one of our bellies to right the wrongs of November,” she said in the new video.
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