I shared a report last week showing that the Bradley Foundation was the biggest funder of the various groups that are trying to push the Big Lie, especially Bradley Impact.
The first report indicating the foundation's involvement was written by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker.
The Bradley Foundation, when contacted by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, chose to attack her and minimize their involvement:
Asked to respond to the New Yorker story, Bradley officials attacked the $18 million figure and suggested the story is, in short, a Big Stretch.
"Jane Mayer’s piece is filled with inaccuracies and distortions about the Bradley Foundation’s history, mission, directors and partners and as typical of her work, lacks journalistic integrity," the foundation said in a nearly 300-word statement.
It went on to say that the Bradley has long been a supporter of fair elections. The foundation said it has funded efforts to "encourage voter participation and give Americans the confidence that their vote matters."
"In 2020, Bradley made only $500,000 in grants to groups doing election integrity work, all of which is routinely disclosed. It’s a significant sum, but nowhere near Mayer’s invented figure," the statement said. "It is also very small compared to the $10 million we contributed to state and local arts, education, and community groups during that same period."
And who got the $500,000? Here are the recipients: the Public Interest Legal Foundation, $300,000; the Heritage Foundation’s election law initiative, $175,000; and the Election Integrity Project, $25,000.
But their complaint and excuses don't hold water.
First, Bradley commits the lie of omission by failing to even mention Bradley Impact in their statement. That's probably because it would be impossible for them to deny it. As The Intercept reported, Bradley Impact has five board members and officers who also hold board seats with the Bradley Foundation.
Secondly, and more importantly, like any good reporter, Mayer already had showed us her receipts. Not only did she have the tax returns proving her report's accuracy, but also the undeniable tie that the Bradley Foundation has with the Big Lie -- Cleta Mitchell, the secretary to the Bradley board.
An animating force behind the Bradley Foundation’s war on “election fraud” is Cleta Mitchell, a fiercely partisan Republican election lawyer, who joined the organization’s board of directors in 2012. Until recently, she was virtually unknown to most Americans. But, on January 3rd, the Washington Post exposed the contents of a private phone call, recorded the previous day, during which Trump threatened election officials in Georgia with a “criminal offense” unless they could “find” 11,780 more votes for him—just enough to alter the results. Also on the call was Mitchell, who challenged the officials to provide records proving that dead people hadn’t cast votes. The call was widely criticized as a rogue effort to overturn the election, and Foley & Lardner, the Milwaukee-based law firm where Mitchell was a partner, announced that it was “concerned” about her role, and then parted ways with her. Trump’s call prompted the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, to begin a criminal investigation.
In a series of e-mails and phone calls with me, Mitchell adamantly defended her work with the Trump campaign, and said that in Georgia, where she has centered her efforts, “I don’t think we can say with certainty who won.” She told me that there were countless election “irregularities,” such as voters using post-office boxes as their residences, in violation of state law. “I believe there were more illegal votes cast than the margin of victory,” she said. “The only remedy is a new election.” Georgia’s secretary of state rejected her claims, but Mitchell insists that the decision lacked a rigorous evaluation of the evidence. With her support, diehard conspiracy theorists are still litigating the matter in Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta. Because they keep demanding that election officials prove a negative—that corruption didn’t happen—their requests to keep interrogating the results can be repeated almost indefinitely. Despite three independent counts of Georgia’s vote, including a hand recount, all of which confirmed Biden’s victory, Mitchell argues that “Trump never got his day in court,” adding, “There are a lot of miscarriages of justice I’ve seen and experienced in my life, and this was one of them.”
Even though this cost Mitchell her job at the Foley & Lardner law firm, where she was a senior partner for nearly 20 years, the Bradley Foundation is proudly keeping her on staff.
It should come as no surprise that the Bradley Foundation is pushing for voter suppression so strongly, especially in Black communities around the country. They have a long history of racism. It was Bradley who funded the "research" that led to The Bell Curve, which argued that it did not pay to educate Black children because they were supposedly inferior to white kids. This was used to push for the privatization of education for Black children.
The only surprising and disappointing fact is that the government still allows them to continue with their corruption. Then again, Republicans would probably rather cut off their own noses than to hold this right wing money bank accountable for anything.