Call them the voter fraud brain trust. A cadre of influential Washington, D.C., election lawyers has mobilized a sophisticated anti-fraud campaign built around lawsuits, white papers, Congressional testimony, speeches and even best-selling books. Less well-known than Indiana election lawyer James Bopp Jr., who’s made a national name for himself challenging the political money laws, conservative veterans of voting wars such as Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams nonetheless play a role similar to Bopp’s in their behind-the-scenes fight to protect ballot integrity. Both former Justice Department officials, von Spakovsky and Adams have worked alongside such anti-fraud activists as Thomas Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the tea party group True the Vote.
They’ve quietly stoked fears of election fraud among bloggers and grass-roots activists and buttressed a national ballot integrity movement built around pushing new state voter ID laws, cleaning up the voter rolls and mobilizing hundreds of volunteer poll watchers to bird-dog voters on Election Day.
Other leaders in the Beltway anti-fraud brigade include GOP election lawyer Cleta Mitchell, president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, and Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, who helped launch the anti-fraud movement with his 2004 book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.” Also active is the nonprofit American Civil Rights Union, which bills itself as a conservative counterpoint to the American Civil Liberties Union and runs a “Protect Your Vote” website that warns, “Vote Fraud Steals Your Most Precious Civil Right.”