Mike Lindell hosting summit to introduce right-wing sheriffs to election officials
Mike Lindell speaking with attendees at the 2020 Student Action Summit. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell is hosting a conference later this month that will fold government officials and right-wing sheriffs into the "big lie" ecosystem that has developed after Donald Trump's election loss.

The pillow magnate, who says he has spent up to $40 million of his own money promoting Trump's fraud claims, is hosting a two-day "Moment of Truth" summit starting Aug. 20 in Missouri, where he expects 200 federal and state officials and staffers to join hundreds of representative from pro-Trump "election integrity" groups and right-wing "constitutional sheriffs" and other sympathetic law enforcement officers, reported The Guardian.

“It is troubling to see conspiracy theorists investing money in a network designed to spread their lies about the 2020 election,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “They are using those conspiracies in an attempt to cause real harm to voters, and to our democracy. In the search for non-existent fraud, they are turning American citizens against their neighbors, who seek only to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

At a time when both voters and election workers have cause to fear intimidation and harassment," he added, "it is shameful that law enforcement officers would compound that fear rather than offering them protection.”

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That concerns some sheriffs, as well.

“There’s no place for politics in policing,” Sheriff Paul Penzone, of Maricopa County, Arizona. “We are seeing a radical movement, including some local law enforcement, of people who are committed to destroying trust in our system for their own selfish gain. We must fight against it, or our nation will no longer be the democratic standard.”

The summit will feature 10 right-wing sheriffs, including former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, who runs the extremist Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), which has pivoted from fallacious legal claims about the authority of county sheriffs to the "holy cause" of election monitoring -- which watchdogs fear will limit voting rights.

“The ramifications of the lie that the 2020 election was rigged reach far beyond the events of Jan. 6," said Morales-Doyle. "This lie has fueled a variety of new threats to our democracy, including changes to state law, harassment of election workers, and the recruitment of poll watchers, poll workers, and vigilante canvassers.”

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GOP donors and activists have set up a network of "election integrity" groups fueled by Trump's election lies, and Lindell's summit demonstrates the bonds he has made to Mack, a former board member of the right-wing Oath Keepers organization that allegedly helped plan the U.S. Capitol attack.

They have appeared on one another's television programs and held joint press events in recent months, and Mack has also forged ties to True the Vote, which co-sponsored a CSPOA summit last month and has linked up with another sheriffs group, Protect America Now, and Lindell's event will gather members of those groups with fundraisers such as Cleta Mitchell, a former Trump campaign attorney who took part in his infamous phone call to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.

“Mega-donor spending, long associated with Super Pacs and non-profits, is now also aimed at shaping even how our elections are administered,” said Sheila Krumholz, who heads OpenSecrets. “Election administration is critical infrastructure in a democracy and should not be determined by partisan power-brokers.”

CSPOA founder Richard Mack tells Mike Lindell about plan to enlist sheriffs in 'vote fraud' scheme www.youtube.com