One of the key reasons there should be stiff punishments handed down to people who try to overturn or undermine elections is simple: If people don't see consequences for waging these efforts, they’re likely to continue. (Hint hint, Merrick Garland.)
The report highlights right-wing firms and other businesses that received thousands of dollars from conspiracy theorists who ran — some successfully, others unsuccessfully — for secretary of state last year in their respective states.
Of the 12 election-denying secretary of state candidates whom Issue One highlighted in its analysis, Arizona’s failed GOP nominee Mark Finchem spent the most with roughly $2 million in campaign expenditures. (Notably, more than half of the donations to his campaign were reportedly from out-of-state contributors.)
So which firm benefited most from Finchem’s business?
The firm Go Right Strategies, which is run by a nephew of Wendy Rogers — a far-right Arizona state senator with ties to white nationalists. Finchem's campaign paid the company around $1.5 million, according to the report. And it's just one example of the financially incestuous world of right-wing election denialism. Finchem spent more than $53,000 at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last year, more than any other candidate highlighted in this report.
Issue One also found that another right-wing firm, McShane LLC, raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from these anti-democratic candidates, including nearly $500,000 from failed Nevada candidate Jim Marchant and around $200,000 from Chuck Gray, who won his race in Wyoming in November.
The report also found that failed Michigan secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo paid out $400,000 to the firm Patriotic Strategic Group, formed just last year, for advertising.
The report — an easy read at just a few pages — is definitely worth your time. The GOP has made its anti-democratic crusade into a profitable endeavor, and this report shows how and for whom.