USA 2024 Elections Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Tue Jun 13 22:56:51 PDT 2023

Jeff Clark @JeffClarkUS
Thanks @charliekirk11 for calling attention to the 65 Project. It and
a group named LDAD are carrying out lawfare against Trump lawyers. I
am a target of that campaign. Here’s my piece on the evils of this
tyranny and lawyer intimidation.
Trump DOJ appointee Jeffrey Clark rails against David Brock's latest
left-wing lawfare plot to destroy American freedom and the rule of
Charlie Kirk @charliekirk11
Have you heard of the 65 Project? The Unabomber, the Boston Bombers,
murderers, and rapists all deserve a defense, but lawyers who
represent President Trump, a constitutional right for all citizens,
are threatened with disbarment — a professional death sentence.

“Project 65” Seeks to Kill All the Trump Lawyers — By Canceling Them: The
Progressive Left’s Latest Move to Destroy America

Guest Post by Jeffrey Clark, Former Assistant Attorney General at the U.S.
Justice Department

As Shakespeare famously wrote in Henry VI Part II: "The first thing we do,
let’s kill all the lawyers."

Even for me as a lawyer, it’s hard not to sympathize with that
sentiment. Lawyers are a drag. But in reflective moments, I’m more
partial to Sir Thomas More’s line from Robert Bolt’s A Man for All
Seasons: “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round
on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country
is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not

The evenhanded application of the law is a principle that must be
defended. Everywhere, balance and perspective are under attack. Whatever
the costs of America’s process-heavy adversarial contests, that feature
of our polity is a key bulwark of liberty. Due process is not something to
be trifled with, deconstructed, or thrown away based on the passions of
the political moment.

Yet that is happening, right now. The Left has set the lines of battle:
Any lawyers who worked for President Trump with verve and ingenuity, along
with any lawyers he retained to mount his various 2020 election contests,
must be crushed, must have their noses rubbed into the dirt, must if
possible lose their jobs and even their right to practice law. It’s not
right, just as it would not have been right to demonize the lawyers who
mounted Al Gore’s challenges to the 2000 presidential election in

On the Left, the constant rallying cry is “Remember January 6!” It’s
like a woke version of “Remember the Alamo!", designed to divide and
conquer instead of unite the nation in the spirit of apple-pie American
patriotism. For those who know me, I’m a lot more partial to traditional
patriotism than to false and cynical attempts by MSNBC and its ilk to use
the aberration of January 6 as some kind of Rosetta Stone to American
politics. As James O’Keefe has recently brought to light, even Matthew
Rosenberg of the New York Times secretly knows I’m right.

Project 65 and Its Despicable Aims

When the Left wants something, you can be sure that limitless streams of
money will soon pour forth to fund their destructive crusade. Recently,
Axios profiled something significant you might have missed: “Project
65,” a new initiative funded by millions in “dark money” to destroy
as many Trump-affiliated lawyers as possible.

At the retail level, Project 65's purpose is to file bar complaints
against 111 lawyers wherever they are licensed. At the wholesale level, it
seeks to amend state bar rules, so that no lawyers with a sense of
self-preservation will ever again want to bring election-related contests
on behalf of President Trump, or any other populist conservative
candidate. According to Project 65, everyone secretly knows that elections
in Atlanta, Chicago, or Philadelphia (my home town) are entirely
aboveboard, so any legal challenges to them must be in bad faith. My
Mom’s stories from decades of poll watching in Philadelphia must have
been hallucinated, and a slew of election fraud cases in Philadelphia must
have magically disappeared from the annals of the law. The Chicago
corruption of Mayor Daley in the 1960 presidential election is an old
wives’ tale. Election fraud in America simply doesn't exist. Of course,
some exceptions exist—for Democrat complaints of voter fraud, of course.
Don’t expect Project 65 to file a bar complaint any time soon against
losing candidate Stacey Abrams over her frequent claims to be the
legitimate governor of Georgia.

Project 65 is led by David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America
and the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century. Brock is still on his
life-long quest to expiate his decades-old “sin” of writing The Real
Anita Hill, a book attacking the credibility of Clarence Thomas’s
harassment accuser. Brock will be joined by an advisory board that
includes former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, Clinton affiliate
Melissa Moss, and “Republican” Paul Rosenzweig.

(Here I pause to ask, Paul, what’s happened to you? We both served in
the Bush 43 Administration, me at Justice and you at Homeland Security.
President Trump actually achieved many of the goals President Bush
advocated, yet rarely did much to accomplish. Talking a good game is not
the same thing as running a good game. Best to judge by fruits and not by
braggadocious tweets, I think. Never Trumpism seems to be a fever that
makes calmly comparing records impossible.)

Here's what Brock describes as the mission of his project: “[Project 65]
will not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints but shame them
and make them toxic in their communities.” According to Axios, Brock's
plan is nothing less than a war of the strong against the weak: “I think
the littler fish are probably more vulnerable to what we’re doing...
You’re threatening their livelihoods. And you know, they’ve got
reputations in their local communities.”

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Give Brock points for honesty, at least. Not everyone has the guts to
gloat about being pure evil. Project 65 is torn right from the playbook of
Saul Alinsky (“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize
it”): Shame lawyers, plague them with hefty legal bills, and especially
pick off ones who are less famous and backed by fewer resources. Given all
that, it’s better to call Project 65 Project Shame, Project Fear, or the
Project of Personal Destruction. And wait, why is it even called Project
65? Because (groan) that’s the number of lawsuits filed to support the
“Big Lie,” of course.

Monopolies are never good, whether one is talking about cornering the
market for silver, for banking services, for rare earth minerals (hello
CCP), or for social media. Lawyers are indispensable to promoting any
abstract cause or to any concrete enterprise that must enter the court
system to present grievances. Trying to shame, outlaw, and destroy the
personal reputations of any category of lawyers, on the Right or on the
Left, must be resisted with maximum effort. And make no mistake, as Axios
recognizes after talking to Brock himself (and others at Project 65
clinging to anonymity), the goal of the effort is to chill market forces:
“The 65 Project is focused on starving any future efforts of legal
talent as well as focusing on 2020.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz sees the game afoot. He told Breitbart that he
will “defend any lawyer targeted by [the] McCarthyist ‘65
Project.’” Good for him. He immediately recognizes that Project 65
flunks any test of Kantian evenhandedness and ethics:

It was only 22 years ago when lawyers like me sought to block the
election of President George W. Bush, believing as we did that Al Gore
actually received more votes than Bush in Florida and was the rightful
winner. We lost in court. But back then no one suggested going after the
hundreds of lawyers who tried to prevent Bush’s certification. A
dangerous weapon, like the 65 Project, unleashed by Democrats will
surely be used by Republicans at some future time. [89][Breitbart]

Bingo. It’s the Golden Rule. If progressives can try to starve
Republicans of legal talent, turnabout will become fair play. And it
should not be allowed to become fair play—by either side. Weaponizing
bar rules to endlessly relitigate contests about the 2020 presidential
election (or any election) is not what the rules of legal ethics and
professional conduct exist to accomplish. It is blatant lawfare, designed
to impose ruinous costs on lawyers of an enemy political faction. It’s a
Pandora’s box that should remain closed.

The Three Categories of Lawyers Project 65 Seeks to “Freeze” in
Alinsky Terms

Project 65 plans to target three categories of lawyers: (1) Trump’s
inner circle of lawyers, e.g., Jenna Ellis and Boris Epsteyn, (2) lawyers
who signed on to be alternate presidential electors; and (3) attorneys who
participated in the attack on the Capitol or were simply present at the
events of January 6.

Let’s take each of these categories in turn. For category 1, the Project
reasons that being close to Trump is its own unpardonable sin, a form of
guilt by association. That’s as un-American as it gets. Next, as to
alternate electors: In the 1960 presidential election between Nixon and
Kennedy, there were alternate Democratic Hawaii electors for Senator
Kennedy who eventually became the actual electors, so lining up
alternative electors to be ready for such an opportunity can’t be
inherently illegal or unethical. And finally, while a lawyer who
participated in violence at the Capitol on January 6 is clearly a proper
subject of a bar investigation and stern discipline, the idea that a
lawyer’s mere presence at the January 6 protest is unethical is the
stuff of a banana republic. Is every left-leaning lawyer who protested
George Floyd’s death to be rounded up and disbarred because Antifa
members assaulted a courthouse in Portland or burned down a police station
in Minneapolis?

Is at Least One Other Entity Cooperating With Project 65?

The public announcement of Project 65’s kickoff was followed just a few
weeks ago by a public announcement that the Texas Bar was considering
allegations of unethical conduct filed against the Lone Star State’s
Attorney General, Ken Paxton. According to the Washington Examiner, AG
Paxton is under fire for suing to overturn the 2020 presidential election,
a suit that 17 other state AGs eventually joined him in. Just pause and
let that sink in. The notion that 18 state attorneys general were all
plotting together in a back room to file unethical, disbarment-worthy
litigation shouldn’t be a theory that could even get off the ground of
its own weight. This is a naked, cynical attempt to weaponize the bar
rules in the service of politics. The very legitimacy of the legal bar
depends on not allowing such a weaponization.

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Instead of reflecting unbiased application of ethics rules, the attack on
Paxton’s bar license really boils down to the claim it is beyond the
pale to contradict the regime’s “Big Lie” refrain. This refrain
holds that the 2020 election was perfect, no matter what evidence has
emerged or will emerge in the future. There is no attorney ethics rule
that mandates agreement with Democrat media narratives, however often they
are repeated. It is that fact Brock and his ilk seek to change.

Democrats don’t like that Paxton courageously questioned whether the
2020 presidential election was aboveboard. But Paxton and his 17 fellow
state AGs elected by the people were fully entitled to argue that the 2020
election was not conducted in accord with the Constitution. Specifically,
the Presidential Electors Clause (Article II, Section 1, Clause 2)
requires such electors to be appointed in the manner determined by state
legislatures. Not by state governors, not by state courts, and not by
state administrative agencies making last-minute changes in voting law
under the cover of COVID-19 paranoia. The Supreme Court refused to take up
Paxton’s case by a 7-2 vote, but the case was surely colorable and
raised fair-minded arguments. Moreover, the Supreme Court majority did not
enshrine the “Big Lie” narrative in law. They simply held that Texas
lacked constitutional standing. Nothing more.

The complaint against AG Paxton was filed not by Project 65 but by a
different group called Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD).
LDAD’s Chairman is a past litigation opponent of mine, former Democrat
AG of Massachusetts (and noisy proponent of socialist climate change
regulations) Scott Harshbarger. Other LDAD members include Lucien Wulsin,
Founder and Director of Insure the Uninsured Project, and Martha Barnett,
former chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates (for more on the ABA's own
ideological drift, see [91]Revolver's writeup here). They are leftists at
the vanguard of leftist causes.

Are LDAD and Project 65 working together? I certainly can't prove it. But
I will go out on a limb and predict that at some point in the future, it
will likely come out that they are closely aligned and coordinated.

The Texas Bar should make short work of the complaint against AG Paxton,
but that situation will have to be monitored carefully. As Paxton himself
noted, the lawsuit seems strategically (and politically) timed:
“They’ve intentionally waited a year and a half after my Supreme Court
challenge—right in the middle of an election—to do it... Worse, they
announced their plans on the very first day of my election against George
P. Bush—Biden’s and the Democrats’ preferred candidate for Attorney
General.” How convenient.

Legal Defenses to the Project 65 Offensive

Fortunately, legal defenses to Project 65 are easy to come up with.

First, Project 65’s goals run afoul of the First Amendment’s Petition
Clause, which guarantees citizens the right to petition their government
for a redress of grievances. Such petitions often come in the form of
lawsuits. Frivolous lawsuits can be penalized, but the standards for this
are supposed to be clear-cut and limited. Judges can discipline lawyers
for making factual claims that it can be proven they knew were false at
the time. Lawyers who make legal arguments that flatly contradict binding
legal precedent can be taken to the woodshed as well (though lawyers can
always argue that case law ought to be changed as well). On the other
hand, filing lawsuits supported by the sworn testimony of poll workers who
saw various forms of shenanigans is categorically the exact sort of
activity protected by the right to petition. So is arguing that
last-minute bureaucratic changes to election laws violated Article II of
the Constitution. And so is complaining about the election rigging enabled
by Mark Zuckerberg's Zuckerbucks. Marc Elias may not like to have to run
to and fro defending against such suits, but there is nothing illegitimate
about them simply because lawyers for President Trump filed the cases.

Second, forming an organized legal group to hound lawyers who happened to
serve as advocates for Republican causes suggests a conspiracy to violate
the civil rights of those lawyers’ clients, as well as the civil rights
of those lawyers themselves. Civil rights laws are not the exclusive
playthings of the Democratic Party. Free expression, free political
association, access to the legal counsel of one’s choice—these are all
foundational rights that a group of dark money-funded lawyers associated
with David Brock should not be able to rip away or chase away through fear
and the politics of cancelation.

Third, fire can be fought with fire. And to mix the metaphor, sometimes
the best defense is a good offense. Every lawyer who is faced with the
naked lawfare of Project 65 should file a counter-complaint to the bar
where a Project 65 complainant is a member. All lawyers should have much
better things to do than to try to deck their opponents, aiming to knock
them out in a bar-grievance process resembling Fight Club.

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In antitrust law, there is a form of anticompetitive conduct known as
“raising rivals’ costs." Raising the costs of legal rivals is not a
proper endeavor in the American legal tradition anymore than it is fair
play in business as to economic competitors. Brock is openly bragging that
his plan is to starve conservatives of legal talent. His words are a
self-indictment of monument proportions. His tactic should be shunned and
the lawyers using it are the ones who deserve discipline.

Countering Project 65

So, what should be done to block or blunt the Project 65 dagger aimed at
the heart of American lawyering? I propose a plan with three parts:

First, we need to fund, on a dollar-per-dollar basis, a Project 65
counterproject. If left unchecked, then at the least Project 65 will
burden and frighten any lawyer willing to take on Republican clients. At
its worst, Project 65 will go on to create lasting structural and systemic
change in the American legal system. Canceling Trump-adjacent lawyers is
just Brock’s starting point. The end goal is to create a reality where
left-wing ideology and the legal system are one and the same. If America's
businessmen and right-leaning donors aren't willing to step up now and
fund a counter-Project of their own, then they should not be surprised if
the day comes where they can't get a lawyer either.

Whenever Project 65 shows up with a proposal to change the bar rules to
tilt the playing field against one sort of party, the Project 65
counterproject must appear as well to file rulemaking comments aimed at
keeping the bar rules neutral and apolitical.

Personal knowledge should be required for bar authorities to open an
investigation into any Project 65 complaint. Typically, bar complaints are
filed, for instance, by wronged clients alleging a lawyer absconded with
money out of a trust account or that a lawyer has not worked diligently
enough on their case. By contrast, Joe Officious Intermeddler shouldn’t
be able to read a Washington Post article or search state and federal
election lawsuit databases and gin up carbon-copy complaints about the
conduct of Trump-hired lawyers they have had no personal contact with.

Any lawyer who participates in drafting a Project 65 bar complaint should
be required, under penalty of perjury, to disclose his identity to the bar
authorities where he or she files such a complaint. And the drafters of
“model” bar complaints that Project 65 takes off the shelf to adapt to
launch against any single lawyer should similarly not be allowed to hide
in the shadows.

Bar disciplinary authorities should reaffirm their traditional role of
being reactive. They exist to investigate complaints filed by clients, and
to decide whether lawyers already convicted of crimes or sanctioned by
judges should also face further discipline. As John Adams once said:
“Go[ ] not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy." State and local
bars should not expend their attention and resources on a Project 65 witch
hunt to make life hell for conservative lawyers who stood up against the
current ruling regime.


The Prussian military theorist Von Clausewitz is famous for his dictum
that “war is the continuation of policy by other means." Project 65
seeks to invert that: To turn politics into just another mode of all-out
warfare. Attacking the dignity of the bar will be the death knell of our
Anglo-American legal system and for fair, competitive politics more
generally. Project 65's lawsuits are an assault on the principle of equal
protection under the law and on the Constitution’s Petition Clause. This
is a fight that patriotic Americans must win, or the United States will
just be the latest example of a republic decayed into a phony, failed

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Mr. Clark is the former Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General of the
Environment & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Justice Department
(2018-2021). From 2020-2021, he was also named and simultaneously served
as the former Acting Assistant Attorney General of DOJ’s Civil Division
(2020-2021). Mr. Clark, unfortunately, is still mired in a subpoena fight
with the House’s January 6 Select Committee. If you want to help, his
legal defense fund can be found at [94]

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