Democrats are challenging the results in two close House elections in Iowa and New York — and are represented by Marc Elias, the same attorney who led the party’s nationwide efforts to expand vote-by-mail.
According to multiple reports, the Democrats plan to appeal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Administration Committee to certify at least one of the candidates as the winners — even if the Republican candidate appears to have more votes as counted by state election authorities.
Under the Federal Contested Elections Act, the House can step in and certify a winner in close and contested races. The Democrats last did so in 1985, when the House Administration Committee declared Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN) the winner of a close race in which his Republican challenger, Richard McIntyre, was certified as the winner by state election authorities. Democrats used their House majority to seat McCloskey and Republicans walked out of the chamber in protest.
Politico reported this week that Democrats, led by Elias and Perkins Coie, have a similar plan for a contested House race in Iowa, where Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks has been certified as the winner of the 2nd congressional district race by six votes over Democrat Rita Hart.
The Wall Street Journal likewise observed in an editorial Saturday: “Ms. Hart’s campaign said it will bypass an Iowa court appeal and ask the Committee on House Administration to intervene. The House has final say on its Members’ elections and the Supreme Court has held that courts can’t intervene in those decisions under the Constitution’s Article I.”
In New York, Republican challenger Claudia Tenney is leading Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) by 12 votes. Marc Elias and his Perkins Coie law firm are leading Democrats’ legal challenges in both elections.
Brindisi and Hart have both retained counsel from Perkins Coie, the premier Democratic election law firm — a sign they are gearing up for a lengthy legal process. The head of Perkins Coie’s election law practice, Marc Elias, is a recount expert who successfully led Democrat Al Franken’s efforts in Minnesota’s 2008 Senate race. Franken trailed about around 200 votes after the initial count but overtook then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) in a recount.
Politico omits two other key facts about Elias. One is that Marc Elias was responsible for hiring opposition research firm Fusion GPS, on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, to produce the fraudulent “Russia dossier” on then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. The “dossier,” compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele using a sub-source once suspected of spying for Russia, was the basis for the “Russia collusion” hoax that dogged Trump’s presidency.
The other important fact about Elias is that he led many of Democrats’ lawsuits throughout the 2020 election to expand vote-by-mail and lower safeguards against fraud. He boasted openly about his efforts:
The lawyer is leading a range of new lawsuits focused on what he calls his four “pillars” of fair mail-in elections: States should make ballots’ postage free or prepaid, they should count votes postmarked before Election Day, they should reform signature-matching laws to make it more difficult for election workers to subjectively reject ballots, and they should allow community groups to help collect and deliver ballots that have already been filled out and sealed.
Elias has styled himself as the defender of voters’ rights, but he is leading efforts to overturn two democratic elections in states where the voters appear to have chosen Republicans.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.