Common Cause v. Trump (GA Election Interference DOJ Complaint)

Common Cause Files Complaint Urging DOJ Investigation of Trump Interference in Georgia Vote Counting

On March 10, Common Cause and Common Cause Georgia filed a complaint with the U.S. Department Justice (DOJ), urging investigation into whether then-President Donald J. Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham, Rudolph W. Giuliani and others violated multiple federal laws by attempting to overturn presidential election results in Georgia via an hour-long Jan. 2 phone call to Raffensperger and other events and communications with Georgia officials.

A month after Common Cause Georgia called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to refer to the federal DOJ his investigation of President Donald Trump’s January 2nd phone call with Raffensperger, Common Cause filed its own complaint with the DOJ.

The complaint, filed March 10, 2021, urges the DOJ to investigate whether Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham, Rudolph W. Giuliani and others violated multiple federal laws by attempting to overturn presidential election results in Georgia via the hour-long Jan. 2 phone call to Raffensperger and other events and communications with Georgia officials, including:

  • repeated efforts by Trump and his allies to pressure Raffensperger to publicly endorse Trump’s campaign;
  • a November 13, 2020 phone call between Raffensperger and Sen. Lindsey Graham, during which Graham asked Raffensperger if he had the ability to “toss all mail ballots” in some counties;
  • a December 2020 phone call between Trump and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, during which Trump warned Carr not to get involved in a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton;
  • the December 2020 appearances by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his team of “experts and witnesses” — during which Georgia state legislators were urged to ignore the election results and instead appoint Electoral College electors who would vote for Trump;
  • a December 23, 2020 phone call from Trump to Georgia’s lead elections investigator;
  • a December 30, 2020 Trump tweet targeting Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp; and
  • a January 3, 2021 phone call to the US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, which was followed almost immediately by the US Attorney’s resignation.

“Our country deserves a thorough, independent federal investigation of Trump’s efforts to overturn the will of Georgia’s voters. That’s why we called on Secretary Raffensperger to refer his investigation to the Department of Justice rather than pursuing it in-house” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia. “Between Secretary Raffensperger’s personal involvement and Attorney General Carr’s links to a group that urged people to ‘march to the Capitol building’ on January 6th, any state-level investigation is going to be irrevocably tainted. But another month has passed, without any indication that Secretary Raffensperger has referred his investigation; so Common Cause and Common Cause Georgia are filing our own complaint today.”

“This investigation must be impartial and it must be conducted by law enforcement officials who did not play a role in the incidents outlined in the complaint or the insurrection that followed on January 6th at the United States Capitol,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The reprehensible, undemocratic pressure applied by President Trump and his allies on Georgia elections officials was part of a much wider campaign by Trump officials to challenge results in predominantly Black and Brown communities in states where the election was closely contested.”

The complaint urges the DOJ to investigate former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Senator Lindsey Graham, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Cleta Mitchell, Kurt Hilbert and others, in addition to President Trump.

Along with potential election fraud charges, the complaint contemplates conspiracy charges as well as violations of federal wire fraud statutes, particularly theft of “honest services.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is currently investigating many of these same events as possible violations of state laws.

More than a month after Trump’s phone call to Raffensperger was publicly disclosed, Raffensperger’s office launched an investigation of the call. The following day, Common Cause Georgia publicly urged Raffensperger to refer his investigation to the DOJ, citing Raffensperger’s public statements that he and his family voted for Trump and Carr’s leadership of the Republican Attorney General’s Association, which was linked to the January 6th rally that devolved into an attack on the US Capitol.

“Georgians deserve to have confidence in elections and have a right under federal law to have their votes counted. For months, the losing 2020 presidential election candidate Donald J. Trump and his supporters fraudulently and corruptly attempted and conspired to overturn presidential election results in Georgia,” according to today’s complaint. “Common Cause calls on the DOJ to investigate this matter fully and to hold any and all lawbreakers accountable for their actions.”

To read the full complaint filed today, click here.

To read the February 9, 2021 call for Raffensperger to refer his investigation to the DOJ, click here.