Sen. Ron Johnson recently made two payments to a law firm run by a Wisconsin attorney involved in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation, in part to help with a possible recount, according to financial disclosure forms. filed on Friday.
Johnson, R-Wis., made the payments to the law firm run by James Troupis, which allegedly played a role in a scheme to reverse the results of the 2020 election through the use of “fake voters” who make subject to scrutiny by the federal government. Troupis, a Donald Trump campaign attorney, led Trump’s unsuccessful recount efforts in Wisconsin.
Johnson’s public explanations as to whether he had a hand in the plan – including what he said about his interactions with Troupis in the hours leading up to the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – are subject to scrutiny.
Johnson, locked in one of the nation’s closest Senate races against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, has paid just over $20,000 in recent months to the Troupis law firm in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, according to new financial disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission. Troupis is the director of the company.
On July 26, Johnson’s campaign paid $13,287 to Troupis Law for “legal consultation”. On August 18, he paid $7,000 for what is listed in his financial records as “Recount: Legal Consulting.” Financial records suggest the only other financial interactions between Troupis and Johnson occurred in 2010, when Troupis donated $1,000 to Johnson’s campaign fund.
As campaigns sometimes prepare for different scenarios of voting on Election Day, Johnson’s payment for legal consultation on a possible recount to an outside law firm could be a sign he expects the kind of contest tied for which the Battlefield State is known. Johnson did not say whether he would accept the Nov. 8 election results. Previous financial disclosure forms did not show previous payments to Troupis. Records show he made regular payments, totaling at least $30,000 this year, to another law firm, Wiley Rein, for legal advice.
A law firm representing Troupis did not immediately respond to a message Monday or a phone message to the number he listed on recount forms he filed on Trump’s behalf in 2020. Other numbers publicly listed for Troupis’ law firm appear to have been disconnected. or are unusable.
Reached for comment on Monday, a spokesperson for Johnson’s campaign said, “We see no reason to participate in any way in any further defamation.”
Troupis was among Trump’s lawyers and representatives named in government subpoenas this year that the FBI served on some of the bogus voters in June, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation. The Washington Post also reported, citing documents that were released as part of a public records request, that two Arizona state lawmakers received subpoenas for any communications they may have have with various Trump attorneys and representatives, including Troupis, “regarding any efforts, plans, or attempts to serve as a voter. The Post also reported that around the same time — mid-June — several people in other states have received subpoenas as part of the bogus voter investigation.
The alleged scheme had lists of Republicans sent to Washington attesting that Trump won the 2020 election, even if he lost in their states.
Johnson’s previous financial disclosure forms also reveal that during his 2022 campaign he received $8,700 in donations of another Trump attorney, Kenneth Chesebro, who is accused in a Wisconsin civil lawsuit of playing a central role in orchestrating the fake voter effort. Chesebro, a New York-based attorney, was also subpoenaed by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, investigating allegations of efforts to nullify the 2020 election. A coalition of attorneys who form the group Lawyers Defending American Democracy also recently called on New York attorney regulators to investigate Chesebro, calling him the “mastermind” behind the fake voter conspiracy and accusing him of violating New York’s ethics rules. York in the process.
In February, The New York Times published a Nov. 18, 2020, memo from Chesebro to Troupis outlining the election strategy, which is also cited in the Wisconsin civil lawsuit that names Troupis and Chesebro as defendants.
Chesebro did not respond to a request for comment. A Chesebro lawyer, Adam S. Kaufmann, previously told The Times that Chesebro offered a contingency plan to the Trump campaign if a court found evidence of fraud in battleground states where Trump contested the results.
On May 11, Chesebro donated $5,800 to Johnson’s campaign, the maximum amount an individual can contribute during the primary under FEC rules. On May 16, he donated another $2,900, which was credited to the general election.
Troupis and Chesebro were named in a May lawsuit in Wisconsin that alleges they were key players in the larger plan to reverse Joe Biden’s victory, which included gathering 10 “fake voters” to testify to wrong that Trump was the legitimate winner of Wisconsin. The lawsuit alleges that Troupis was a link between the Trump campaign and the fake voters.
The House committee investigating the riot first released communications between Johnson’s office and an aide to then-Vice President Mike Pence. In June, the panel released text messages between a senior Johnson official and a Pence aide regarding the transmission of voter lists from Wisconsin and Michigan. Pence’s aide brushed off Johnson’s desk, the texts say.
The first payment to the Troupis firm for legal advice documented in financial disclosure forms was made a month after Johnson admitted to personally texting Troupis on January 6, 2021, about the transmission of information involving what Troupis called “Wisconsin voters” to Pence. .
Johnson has denied knowing anything about the fake voter scheme, and just this month appeared to distance himself from Troupis.
“What would you do if you received a text from the attorney for the President of the United States? Johnson said at a recent event in Milwaukee. “You answer it.”
According to testimony and documents obtained by the House committee on Jan. 6, the bogus election scheme was intended to undermine Biden’s 2020 presidential victory by handing Pence lists of voters in battleground states that claimed that Trump was the legitimate winner.
The scheme failed, however, with Pence acknowledging Biden’s victory.