The lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign and her doomed presidential election recount efforts has reportedly joined the board of a progressive super PAC financed by billionaire George Soros and focused in part on issues of voting rights.
The super PAC Priorities USA has brought Democratic superlawyer Marc Elias onto its board and plans to focus on fighting state-level GOP efforts to restrict voting access in courts and legislatures.
During the most recent presidential election, Priorities USA served as a pro-Clinton super PAC. Soros provided at least $8.5 million to the group, including $6 million in December 2015 and another $2.5 million in August 2016, public records show.
The Hill reported in January 2016 after Soros’s first contribution:
In the last 6 months, the super-PAC raised $25.3 million, meaning that Soros’s contribution accounted for almost a quarter of its fundraising haul.
Following the election, Priorities USA is seeking to “reposition itself as a hub of post-2016 Democratic activity,” Politico reported last month.
Continued Politico on the Super PAC’s new efforts:
One of its primary initiatives will also be a push branded as “The BluePrint Project,” which aims to study and engage both voters who backed President Barack Obama in 2012 and then Trump in 2016, and those who supported Obama before staying home this past November. That campaign has already begun: led by pollsters Geoff Garin and Jef Pollock, Priorities will next week convene focus groups in the Obama-and-Trump-voting states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida, focusing on counties that saw the largest swings from Obama to Trump, and the biggest drop-off in voting rates within African American communities.
Elias served as the Clinton campaign’s general counsel. In November, he announced Clinton’s losing campaign would participate in Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount efforts.
Elias is a senior lawyer at the Perkins Coie law firm, which has also represented Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. The lawyer has previously been tied to Soros.
In July, the New York Times reported Soros had pledged up to $5 million for a legal fight led by Elias against what the newspaper characterized as “restrictive voting laws enacted in recent years by Republican-controlled state governments.”
The Times further reported on Elias’ Soros-financed efforts:
Elias, who specializes in voter-protection issues, was in contact with Mr. Soros in January 2014 when Mr. Elias was exploring a series of federal lawsuits before that year’s midterm election and in advance of the 2016 campaign, according to Mr. Soros’s political adviser, Michael Vachon. (Mr. Elias declined to comment on Friday about the funding of the lawsuits.)
The goal is to try to influence voting rules in states where Republican governors and Republican-led legislatures have enacted election laws since 2010, and to be ready to intervene if additional measures are passed over the next 17 months.
At the time, Soros helped pay for two lawsuits in Ohio and Wisconsin, and the billionaire activist contributed funds for suits that, according to the Times, “Mr. Elias and several other groups filed last year in North Carolina.”
In August, the Washington Post spotlighted the Soros-funded legal work of Elias in a profile titled, “The crusade of a Democratic superlawyer with multimillion-dollar backing.” The newspaper described Elias as the “go-to lawyer for Democrats in recount fights and redistricting battles.”
The Post reported on Elias’s top benefactor:
With a multimillion-dollar commitment from liberal mega-donor George Soros, Elias is challenging laws that, he argues, diminish the impact of important Democratic Party constituencies of African Americans, Latinos and young people.
“I don’t think people should think we’re done filing lawsuits for this election cycle,” Elias said in a taxicab interview after two flights and a two-hour weather delay delivered him to Phoenix.
The Post detailed the evolution of Soros’s financial backing:
While Elias will not discuss the funding for his project, Soros’s spokesman Michael Vachon said Elias approached them with a set of proposals for challenging state restrictions that would be helpful “up and down the ballot.”
That was appealing to Soros, who began his political giving with voter mobilization efforts, Vachon said. And they agreed with Elias that there was work to be done beyond what the civil rights groups, to which Soros also contributes, were doing. …
Soros has given $5 million to the trust that funds the litigation, Vachon said, and Elias said he has picked his shots with an eye toward “protecting the Obama coalition” of African Americans, Latinos and young people.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.