One of Trump’s favorite election conspiracists pocketed millions while looking for fraud
Donald Trump adjusts his translation earpiece at a 2019 joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the White House Rose Garden. (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)

One of former President Donald Trump's favorite election conspiracists promised to find evidence of fraud, but instead diverted more than $1 million in donations to herself, her longtime partner, and an attorney.

The former president has hailed True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht from his campaign rallies and invited her to Mar-A-Lago, and the former PTA mom-turned-Tea Party activist's efforts to turn up fraud have been the subject of the feature film, "2000 Mules," by right-wing provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, but a new investigation by Reveal turned up evidence of self-dealing by her nonprofit organization.

“This certainly looks really bad,” said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, who reviewed the findings.

Reveal's investigation showed True the Vote gave questionable loans to Engelbrecht and awarded contracts to companies run by her and partner Gregg Phillipps, who serves on the organization's board, and within days of receiving a $2.5 million donation to stop the certification of the 2020 election gave much of that money to a company owned by the couple and the law firm owned by conservative heavyweight James Bopp Jr. -- the organization's general counsel.

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“I’ve represented not-for-profits for 45 years,” Bopp said of the loans and contracts, “and it is common.”

However, experts questioned whether the group, whose only recent employee is Engelbrecht, established a proper structure and policies to protect against self-dealing, and its small board of directors has multiple conflicts of interest.

“That’s a real problem,” Styron said.

“These are public dollars, and the board members and officers of a charity have a fiduciary duty to … spend all of the resources of the charity carrying out the mission of the organization to the best of their ability in ways that benefit the nonprofit,” Styron added. “Not in ways that benefit them personally.”