More Evidence That Being Rich Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Being Smart…

I was alerted to this lawsuit by Juanita Jean,  although it has since been pretty widely reported.

It has so many satisfying aspects…

It seems that one of the wealthy fat cats supporting Donald Trump sent a lot of money–two and a half million dollars, to be exact– to “True the Vote,” to support that organization’s lawsuits to overturn the results of the election. Given the uniform failure of those suits–most of which have been withdrawn for admitted lacks of any evidence of fraud or wrongdoing– he wants his money back.

As Juanita Jean writes,

Those kinds of fights are a Democrat’s dream, especially if you personally know one of the people involved and have had fights with them before.

The person Juanita Jean personally knows is a co-director of True the Vote named Cathy Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht used to be her neighbor, and Juanita reports that she

“would hold meetings all over the county with mostly old people at churches and fleece them for money explaining how we Democrats cheat in elections.  Then she got volunteers from her rich Republican friends with clipboard to go “monitor” voting places in black and Hispanic precincts.”

Juanita Jean may be able to recite chapter and verse about Cathy Engelbrecht (there’s more at the link), but those of us who live in Indiana can counter with tales of Engelbrecht’s Hoosier co-director, Jim Bopp.

Indeed, these two seem made for each other.

Until he actually won the Citizens United case, (a case that presented the Court’s majority with an opportunity to reinforce an ideological bias) Bopp was a predictable and annoying joke in Indiana’s legal community–one of those “Christian” lawyers who could be counted on to insert himself in “culture war” lawsuits or any effort to moderate the lopsided power of the GOP. (Bopp and the organizations with which he’s affiliated–Right to Life, Focus on the Family– know what God does and doesn’t want. Presumably, God wants Republicans to  gerrymander, suppress votes, and take buckets of money from unidentified sources…) Bopp’s most fervent–and successful–efforts have been against campaign finance laws.

With True the Vote, Bopp has confirmed that his skills, such as they are, are political, not legal. As one legal blog reports, Fred Eshelman, the owner of a healthcare-focused investment company, took the Houston-based non-profit at its word when it promised results.

The complaint in the case alleges that Republican “powerhouse lawyer” James Bopp promised to file lawsuits in the seven closest battleground states, serve state election officials with subpoenas, and use the resulting data to flag irregularities.( Bopp’s status as a “powerhouse” is wholly dependent upon his victory in Citizens United-the lawsuit that opened the floodgates to corporate money in elections through the rise of super PACs.)

Eshelman asserts that he repeatedly requested information about the lawsuits filed by True the Vote..

But Eshelman notes that the memos, reporters and whistleblowers never came, and all that he received in their place were four complaints filed in four states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. All of the complaints were voluntarily dismissed, in a decision the investor claims had been made “in concert with counsel for the Trump campaign.”

In the Wisconsin case, Bopp promised that “evidence will be shortly forthcoming” before withdrawing their complaint without that evidence on the morning of the hearing.

Well before the election, reports by The New York Times and numerous other media outlets, had made it abundantly clear that True the Vote was simply one of the many Republican efforts at vote suppression.

All of which leaves me with a question: why does someone who has so much money he can send two and a half million dollars to an organization do so without bothering to vet either the organization or the people running it? Anyone who is even slightly acquainted with political reality knows that in-person vote fraud is virtually unknown in the U.S.–and that overturning a Presidential election by alleging such fraud is about as likely as capturing the tooth fairy.

Granted, there’s something satisfying in watching the opportunists and bottom-feeders turn on each other. The Germans call it schadenfreude.

But cases like this tend to confirm that having lots of money isn’t a measure of IQ.


  1. Unfortunately, in the area of political work, Bopp’s influence has been far-reaching. He incorporated the Indiana Republican Party – Indiana Republican State Committee, Inc., actually. The articles of incorporation and the Rules set up for the party, make removal of control from the State Committee extremely difficult. The GOP has advantages, such as immediate placement on the ballot, written into our statutes.

  2. “It seems that one of the wealthy fat cats supporting Donald Trump sent a lot of money–two and a half million dollars, to be exact– to “True the Vote,” to support that organization’s lawsuits to overturn the results of the election.”

    Ignoring the election numbers, popular votes and Electoral College vote, to attempt to overturn the election was proof of the lack of “smarts” of many of the wealthy class in this country. To believe that any organization connected to Trump will return his two and a half million moves him into a class beyond not being smart and into Donald Trump’s IQ territory. As to why he didn’t vet the organization or the people running it; he was only supporting the name Trump and the man, not an organization. I wonder if that wild-eyed picture of Rudy Giuliani with hair dye running down both sides of his face had something to do with his decision? Apparently he now wants to separate himself as well as his money from Trump to save face and money and believes his check will soon be in the mail.

    “But cases like this tend to confirm that having lots of money isn’t a measure of IQ.”

  3. More evidence – Trump’s legal challenge for a recount in Wisconsin didn’t reveal fraud. Instead it increased Biden’s lead.

    There is SOME method to this madness. It provides a cover to keep fund-raising to cover campaign debt. It also salves Trump’s ego and fatten’s Giuliani’s wallet – assuming he’ll ever get paid. It may fatten Trump’s wallet too since many campaign events have been held at Trump properties.

  4. I believe the Germans were right in this case. Just remember, Donald has been on the air with the GOP nonstop telling his base to support their case in stopping the devilish Democrats from stealing the election. They had to show an effort, yes?

    I also read where the money raised by Donald could go to repay campaign debts. The Trump family, with the help of Mike Pence and the Evangelical crowd, has figured out how to fleece their voting base.

    It would be funny if the devilish Democrats didn’t do the same thing to their base while laughing about it, also.

    Oops, did I go too far?

  5. I’m old enough to remember a time when society honored the character of people rather than their ability to build riches. Honesty and integrity were what it took to earn the honors of society back then, not the designation of “millionaire or billionaire”. Not so today. Today we heap praise upon the man or woman with the biggest bank roll, the one with the three homes, the cars, the trips, the connections. And we all know. We all know that in most cases it was not brains that got them there. It was their lack of character, their duplicity, their treachery, their deceitfulness, hypocrisy, and lies. They bent the law, they cheated, they bullied and stole and smashed until they had a fortune and still it was and is not enough. These so called success stories have bought our lawmakers, our courts, our news outlets. Hell, they’ve bought our government. No, they are not smart… they are corrupt.

  6. Gosh! Shocking revelations! Republicans running the long con. Republicans grifting the taxpayer to stay in power. Who knew?

    Oh. Right. That’s what they’ve been doing since the day after Lincoln was shot. I forgot.

    To whit: Republicans tout how they’re so good for the economy. B.S. It is under DEMOCRATIC leadership that our economy has flourished. Ever since FDR save capitalism from itself by enacting the tenets of John Maynard Keynes, the Republicans have been trying to tear down the necessary benefits of government for the “ordinary” citizen.

    It’s ALWAYS been a lie. Republicans are merely the tools of corporate/banking America. They never had any intention to govern.

  7. Maybe Fred and others need to be reminded of that old adage, if you don’t see the con, then you’re the mark.

  8. how many other trump funds,trickle into his pocket. maybe we should have oversite now to his re election fund. as far as a con goes, believe brother,if god wants me to be rich,,,

  9. You may or may not be aware of the fact that Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, offered a $1 million reward for proof of any instance of voter fraud. I don’t think he’s actually paying it, though because John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, sent him two instances of voter fraud, one in which a Trump supporter requested a mail in ballot for his dead mother and a second in which a Trump supporter voted, left the polling station, donned a pair of sunglasses, re-entered and tried to vote as his son, a Democrat. Fetterman requested his million in Sheetz gift cards, but hasn’t heard anything back from Mr. Patrick.

  10. Peggy,

    I had the misfortune of living in Texas when that horse’s ass Patrick was elected…and re-elected by perhaps the most uninformed and prejudicial electorate in the country. He was a “conservative” (read: conspiracy theory) talk radio host along the lines of another Texas idiot, Alex Jones. So, naturally, he got elected.

    In truth, Patrick is a pathetic wannabe always seeking the spotlight and the headlines to advance his career. Make no mistake. He wants Abbott’s job, and the sooner he can curry the necessary favor with the Texas money people, he’ll be put on the ballot.

    Finally, it’s a long, fetid slide from the salad days of Ann Richards to the scum that currently lives and (doesn’t) works in the statehouse.

    By the way, my father-in-law worked at the granite quarry in Marble Falls that decorates the halls of that absolutely beautiful state capitol building. It’s taller than the U.S. capitol dome (of course), but is populated by 70% Republicans. I’ve sat in on legislative sessions there, and those damned fools just keep finding ways to screw the poor and the working people in that state. Texas Republicans are a disgrace to government and democracy… across the board.

  11. Addendum to Sheila: per J. Santucci, USA TODAY. Bopp has offered Eshelman $1,000,0000 not to sue.
    This group is a living image of the scorpian and the frog.
    An aside to Texas; Hispanic population makes up 32% of population, African/American makes up 12% of population, white makes up 41% of population. If the non-“white Americans” were to join forces.they would out number white Texans.

  12. Dan,

    You are correct. But those people don’t. They’re still living the lives of the oppressed mindset. I’ve been on get-out-the-vote drives and had doors slammed in my face everywhere. There is a VERY week sense of civic responsibility there… just as the Republicans wanted it to be.

  13. Todd,

    I don’t know if you went too far. All I know for sure is you presented zero evidence for your assertion/insinuation. That puts you in a league with Trump, whose bleating never goes beyond unfounded assertions. To prove your objectivity, please provide details on at least one case where Democrats are known to have spent large sums of money to suppress votes in 2020.

  14. Terry, I never made the assertion that the Dem Party would suppress votes. I’m merely pointing out that the Dem Party manipulates its voters without ever delivering for them. It’s quite a game of pulling the rug out from under your supporters after promising them victories.

    Both parties and their media does it so well that you don’t even realize you’re being duped.

    Meanwhile, Trump and Pelosi are giving high fives to each other while they steal from our Treasury.

  15. Cults are not born they are cult-jvated. They are always the result of planning by someone(s) who benefit(s) from an ubber loyal following for any number of reasons; sex, money, power, ego massage, political influence, whatever. They are usually built around charisma but not always. They are built from people with a desperate need for relevance, people who know the answer but need someone else to raise the question.

    That’s the principle that oligarchy depends on. Essentially in a democracy oligarchy is a vote buying scheme.

    Oligarchy’s finest hours so far in American history has been these last four years not because Trump is an exceptional politician or exceptionally charismatic like some previous examples in our history but because he’s among the most ruthless of humans who believes that the wealth he was given entitles not just extra helpings but the entire meal, including the pleasure of consuming it in front of the people who prepared it.

    But he’s in our rearview mirror now and we are forward looking people. The question that should be consuming us is what can we prepare for our now shared meal? What are our collective priorities? What should we do?

    Biden/Harris have indicated a willingness to lead and organize we the people and they and their administration also accept the shear number of ways we as a country are now mal adapted to the world that we live in, the earth that we inhabit. They are anxious to lead but we are the ones who have to do the work of democracy.

    What are we up for? No more talk of down.

  16. The only provable claim to fraud in the last election which rigged the election was that of Trump in hobbling delivery of mail ballots by his postmaster general in the northern tier of states Trump (with the assistance of Putin) won last time. It didn’t work, but since Patrick has offered a million dollars for proof of any fraud practiced, someone should cite Trump’s fraud with the requisite proof and sue Patrick for the million plus costs and fees if he refuses to voluntarily pay up. I am informed that some have already tried to collect the reward he promised, but that, as usual, this headline grabbing Republican withdrew his offer after it had been accepted (a bit late in contract law).

  17. Todd,

    I’m assuming you understand the difference between an assertion and an evidence-based statement, but nothing you written so far proves that my assumption is correct. In fact. I’m so incapable of understanding how a person could equate the crimes and fantasy and lies and deceit-based delusions of Trump with anything the Democrats have done in the past four years that I’m hopeful you will become the first person on the planet to demonstrate that they have anything in common. And please cite an instance or two (at the national level) where Democrats have been shown laughing at atrocities they have committed against the American people. If you believe that Trump is anything other than an arch, self-serving criminal who is attempting to take down democracy, please list his virtues so that I might appreciate them ( be specific – give references – I’ve been paying close attention).

  18. My take on this is when blind belief in an ideology has a conjunction with the fantasy.

    Fred Eshelman, CEO of Phamaceutical Product Development, in 2010, newly-filed financial reports show that last month, Eshleman has contributed a total of $3.38 million to a conservative group called

    Per Wiki: was an American conservative political group. It was devoted to electing conservative U.S. Republican Party candidates, thus the reference to the political right in its name. It spent millions supporting Republican candidates in the 2010 general election.

    In a last-minute campaign ad, RightChange used images from the September 2001 World Trade Center attacks to assert that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would “undermine the terror strategy that protects us”.

    So you have Right Wing Reactionary ideology finding an outlet True the Vote.

    Sheila asks: “All of which leaves me with a question: why does someone who has so much money he can send two and a half million dollars to an organization do so without bothering to vet either the organization or the people running it?”

    The answer IMHO is if you believe fanatically enough the Democrats could only win through fraud than you find like minded organizations that will take your money. The other piece that goes with this, our entire voting system is suspect, i.e., sabotage, poison wells, etc.

    My Trump Cult “friends” on Face Book believe without the slightest proof, that the Democrats engaged from coast to coast a well oiled machine to defraud The Trumpet of a landslide victory.

  19. A couple of mayoral elections ago up here in Fort Wayne, a surprise Republican challenger defeated a better-known candidate with the help of the local anti-abortion crowd. When the challenger filed his campaign expense report, he noted a personal loan to the committee of almost $1M. Where did he get the money? He finally said that it was a personal loan from two major anti-abortion people in the area. Why didn’t he state it on his expense report? It was a personal loan! (With the proviso that it was immediately due if the candidate was no longer running for office.) Yeah, right.

    The local election board (2-R, 1-D) met to investigate. Bopp was the candidates attorney. The two Repubicans lobbed softball questions to him, while the lone Democrat asked pointed questions and Bopp tap-danced his way around them. In the end, the vote was predictable.

    Or not.

    The Democrat board member quit the board and filed a citizen’s complaint which lead to a gtrand jury being impaneled and charges filed. By this time, Bopp has tap-danced his way out, leaving the candidate (who lost the general election by 20%) high and dry. The Candidate eventually pled guilty right before the trial.

  20. Eshleman deals in medical investments & doesn’t want a strong advocate for ACA in White House. When Biden builds on ACA, throws in state health insurance, the entire medical field will begin to shift out of the grasps of profiteers. IMO he invested assessing his risk for success on Bopp’s influence with Supreme Court. In the aftermath of Republicans appointing ACB to Supreme Court,looks like he might of believed that Scotus would decide presidency for 45 & his investment would pay dividends? Thanks Sheila for posting, so during pandemic we can stay up with facts & frame our own opinions.

  21. Right on, Terry.

    I’ll have to see what I can do in finding evidence where the Dem’s manipulated their base.

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