First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Lies To Fleece MAGA Backers: Ex-White House Ethics Lawyer

George W. Bush’s White House ethics lawyer attacked a fundraising scheme interesting to MAGA supporters that cites Donald Trump’s 2020 election lies.

Legal professional Richard Painter singled out lawyer Sidney Powell, who raised at least $14 million for her Defending the Republic nonprofit group utilizing baseless claims about election “fraud,” The Washington Publish reported.

The place that cash landed is unknown. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the financial records of Defending the Republic and different Powell teams in a prison probe, based on the Publish.

Prosecutors have additionally accused Powell of submitting false incorporation papers for Defending the Republic in Texas, allegedly naming board members who had been not actually on her board with the intention to entice donations, The Guardian reported this month.

“There’s no First Amendment right to lie to people to get their money,” Painter wrote Sunday in an op-ed on the NBC Information website.

“Let’s be clear about one thing: Spreading pretend information alone could also be protected speech below the First Amendment. However spreading pretend information to ask for cash is industrial speech, and courts implement legal guidelines criminalizing fraud,” Painter continued.

Powell and Defending the Republic had been hit early this yr with a $1.3 billion defamation go well with by Dominion Voting Methods, accusing the lawyer of spreading “wild” and “demonstrably false” claims that Dominion performed a key position in an imaginary scheme to steal the 2020 election from Trump.

Powell and different attorneys had been ordered by a federal choose this month to pay $175,000 in sanctions to Michigan officers they unsuccessfully sued in an effort to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election outcomes. The choose referred to a few of the claims as downright “fantastical.”

Trump and hello Republican Get together, Painter famous, raked in $255.4 million within the eight weeks after the presidential election, baselessly claiming a rigged vote.

Painter additionally pointed to former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s attraction to MAGA supporters to assist construct Trump’s border wall. Bannon and associates had been indicted for allegedly bilking “hundreds of thousands” of donors in an operation that raised some $25 million. Trump pardoned Bannon earlier than he left the White House.