The revelations were presented during a February 2020 Council for National Policy strategy session about elections.

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) CEO Lisa Nelson told a room full of conservative activists that ALEC had been working with three GOP attorneys on “action items that legislators can take to question the validity of an election.” The comments were made during a strategy session about elections at the Council for National Policy in February 2020. 

Nelson, who runs the legally non-partisan charity (ALEC) and is a member of CNP, told the group, “obviously we all want President Trump to win and win the national vote. But it’s very clear from all the comments and all the suggestions up front that really what it comes down to is the states and the state legislators.” She added that they’ve been working with former Federal Election Commission (FEC) Member and Heritage Foundation attorney Hans Von Spakovsky, former FEC member Brad Smith, and GOP attorney Cleta Mitchell “trying to identify what are those action items that legislators can take in their states.” 

“They can write a letter to the secretary of state questioning the validity of an election and saying what did happen that night,” Nelson said. “So we are drafting a lot of those things. If you have ideas in that area, let us know and we’ll get those to the state legislators and they can start to kind of exercise their political muscle in that area.”

Documented first reported ALEC created a “process working group” in 2019, chaired by Mitchell and Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, which would address redistricting, ballot measures, and election law. The secretive group does not appear anywhere on ALEC’s website. Ahead of their 2020 annual meeting, ALEC organized an “Election Roundtable” for the process group. “We will have election experts and legislators from over 20 states discussing election policy,” an invitation to the meeting stated.

ALEC has aligned itself closely to the Trump administration since the outcome of the 2016 election. ALEC hosted its 45th anniversary at the Trump International Hotel and officials from the Trump administration and campaign have spoken at its meetings. Vice President Mike Pence spoke with the group in April to “discuss COVID-19, the federal response and getting America back to work.”

The comments are particularly concerning in light of reporting by the Atlantic, which revealed the Trump campaign had floated plans to “bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.” 

According to the meeting agenda, Director of Communications for the Trump campaign Marc Lotter and Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Paul Teller attended the meeting. 

In partnership with The Intercept, Documented previously reported other comments made during the strategy session, including a presentation by Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, to recruit veterans and first responders to become poll watchers on Election Day. 

CNP members hold several meetings a year where they strategize about their objectives ranging from preventing mail-in ballots to advancing the nominations of conservative federal judges. Documented has obtained 59 recordings from these meetings, which can be viewed here:

Note: Article updated on October 29, 2020 to reflect an email obtained by Documented detailing plans for the ALEC “process group” to meet during the ALEC Annual Meeting in July 2020.

Jamie Corey

Jamie Corey is a Senior Researcher with Documented where she tracks the fossil fuel industry’s influence in state and national politics. Jamie previously worked at the Center for Media and Democracy,...

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