GOP candidate reveals new details about 'extortion' scheme carried out by Michael Flynn allies to support Trump's election lies
Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Photo: Defense Intelligence Agency)

A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate has told the House select committee and FBI about an alleged blackmail scheme carried out by Michael Flynn's allies to pressure GOP lawmakers into backing Donald Trump's election lies.

Everett Stern, a former bank whistleblower who's running a long-shot campaign for one of Pennsylvania's Senate seats, told The Guardian that he collected evidence about the scheme for months and shared his findings with House investigators and law enforcement.

Stern, who runs the intelligence firm Tactical Rabbit, said Flynn's Patriot Caucus associates approached him asking for help with the scheme to dig up dirt on Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in an effort to "move" them toward backing election audits that would lend credibility to Trump's fraud claims.

He identified the Flynn associates as Patriot Caucus member Velma Anne Ruth, Houston real estate mogul Al Hartman and former Army Green Beret Ivan Raiklin, and Stern played along with the scheme for several months to gather evidence, which he turned over to investigators and shared with The Guardian.

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“[They] don’t understand that Biden is the president," Stern said. "They wanted to collect information through Tactical Rabbit and my campaign."

Stern said the Flynn associates asked him to dig up campaign finance information or potentially embarrassing information about GOP lawmakers who were unsupportive of the audits, which he saw as potentially “extortion."

He contacted the FBI in June and met with agents again in November, when he also spoke with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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“Stern’s allegations suggest serious crimes,” said ex-prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig who worked on Ken Starr’s team during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. “If his allegations were corroborated by extrinsic evidence they clearly would warrant investigation.”

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