Hardline supporters of Donald Trump are driving out more moderate members of a top Republican group in the fallout over the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The fundraising arm for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) made robocalls encouraging Trump supporters to "stop the steal" by marching on the Capitol, which preceded the riot, and more moderate members of the group are quitting as the former president's allies take over, reported The Daily Beast.
"During the last several months, it has become clear that there is a significant difference of opinion among members of the RAGA's executive committee as to the direction this organization should take going forward," wrote then-chair Chris Carr, who is Georgia's attorney general, in his April 16 resignation letter.
"This fundamental difference of opinion began with vastly opposite views of the significance of the events of January 6 and the resistance by some to accepting the resignation of the executive director," Carr added. "The differences have continued as we have tried to restore RAGA's reputation internally and externally and were reflected once again during the process of choosing our next executive director."
RAGA works to elect GOP candidates in state attorney general races, but the MAGA faction is taking over -- as seen in the appointment of pro-Trump Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt as the organization's new chair.
"What's changed is not so much that there's politics in AGs' offices but that it's become so much more polarized and nationalized," said Marquette University political scientist Paul Nolette. "You have AGs who are increasingly unwilling to work with AGs across party lines... These AGs are increasingly engaged in national politics and policy, and are focused on often very highly partisan disputes."
The group's fundraising arm, the Rule of Defense Fund, and its then-leader Pete Bisbee sent out invitations for a Jan. 5 conference call, and on that day made robocalls encouraging Trump supporters to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election win.
"At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal," the recorded message said. "We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight."
RAGA leaders later denied involvement in the call, but the group's then-executive director Adam Piper reportedly was involved in Jan. 5 planning meetings with Trump administration officials, and he resigned a few days after the calls were made public -- and he was later replaced by Bisbee, who approved the robocalls.
"As RLDF Executive Director, Pete Bisbee approved the robocall expenditure, and was the only other person accountable for RLDF involvement in the January 6 events," wrote RAGA finance director Ashley Trenzeluk, who quit after Bisbee was elevated. "Over the last few months, I have fielded, reassured, and assuaged concerns from our core donor base on the future direction of our organization. The result of the executive committee vote to nominate Pete as RAGA's Executive Director is a decision I cannot defend."