Non-profit

Republicans for the Rule of Law

Website:

www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com

Location:

New York, NY, United States

Tax ID:

82-8377328

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

2018

Type:

Dissident Republican Advocacy Group

Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) is an organization that purports to be a coalition of Republicans who support the impeachment of President Donald Trump. It is a subsidiary of Bill Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together nonprofit, a nominally conservative organization that often opposes the President’s decisions. RRL was initially founded to oppose the possible firing of U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller (an event that did not occur),[1] and has since continued to encourage Congressional Republicans to remove Trump from office. [2]

While RRL claims to be a Republican-aligned organization, its parent Defending Democracy Together has taken substantial funding from liberal eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s nonprofit network and the Hopewell Fund, part of the Arabella Advisors network of liberal “dark money” groups. [3]

Methods

Since March 2018, Republicans for the Rule of Law has run a coordinated advertising campaign to encourage voters to pressure their congressmen into supporting the impeachment of President Trump. RRL’s specific objectives and policy positions have changed as impeachment proceedings against Trump have progressed. [4]

On March 21, 2018, RRL launched its first television ad, which encouraged Republican Members of Congress to stop President Trump from firing special counsel Robert Mueller. [5] As of February 2020, RRL has produced 172 anti-Trump television ads. [6] These ads typically air on Republican-friendly news channels and programs, like “Morning Joe,” “Fox & Friends,” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Fox News and MSNBC. [7]

Republicans for the Rule of Law launched multiple television advertisements that defended the 2017-2019 special counsel investigation into the alleged relationship between President Donald Trump and the Russian government. During the investigation, the organization released advertisements that sought to convince Republican candidates that Trump’s actions in firing his special counsel went against the United States government’s core values. [8] By the end of the Mueller investigation, RRL had run more than one hundred ads against Trump, many of which were designed with the idea in mind that Republican Party leaders could be persuaded to turn against the president if he decided to fire the special counsel. [9]

The advertisements included interviews with three Republican-appointed federal prosecutors. The prosecutors stated that President Trump would have been indicted during the investigation if he did not hold the position of president of the United States. In the video, the prosecutors discuss the ways that the Mueller report outlines Trump’s apparent obstruction of justice. According to Chris Truax, a spokesman for the Republicans for the Rule of Law, the video emphasized the rule of law as a core value of both the conservative movement and the Republican party. He explained that Republican staff members of the Reagan and Bush administration are interviewed in the video to remind the American public of the importance of applying the rule of law to the president. [10]

During the 2019 impeachment trial Republicans for the Rule of Law released advertisements that attempted to persuade Republican congressmen to vote for the impeachment of President Trump. The advertisements criticized the Republican Party for not addressing President Trump’s actions in ignoring congressional subpoenas during the trial. The advertisement referenced Republican congressmen who opposed the actions of President Nixon in 1974 and sought to draw a parallel between President Nixon’s refusal to accept congressional subpoenas during his presidency with President Trump’s refusal to accept congressional subpoenas during the impeachment trials of 2019.

In the advertisement, Republican members Robert McClory and Lawrence Hogan, past staff members of the House Judiciary Committee, discuss their perspective on the potentially dangerous consequences of allowing President Trump to remain in office after the congressional impeachment trial. [11]

The organization spent $2 million producing the above advertisements. The advertisements were published in thirty-nine states and congressional districts. Sixteen of these advertisements were published at a national level and twenty-eight of the advertisements were on digital billboards. [12]

RRL ramped up advertising efforts during the 2019 Congressional hearings that culminated in President Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives. In December 2019, the organization ran a digital billboard in Times Square in New York City for a week questioning what President Trump was hiding from the American people. [13] On January 16, 2020, RRL announced it was spending $1 million per day over the following week to air two ads on “Fox & Friends” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” [14]

Funding

Republicans for the Rule of Law has no independent tax filings. As a social-welfare advocacy group, donations to RRL are not tax-deductible. While the organization solicits donations on its webpage,[15] presumably nearly all its funding comes from its parent organization, Defending Democracy Together.

Defending Democracy Together has faced criticism for being a nominally conservative organization funded in large measure by activist liberals, most prominently eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. The group and its associated educational arm, Defending Democracy Together Institute, has also received funding from the Hopewell Fund, part of the Arabella Advisors network of liberal “dark money” grantmakers, and the Hewlett Foundation, a liberal institutional grantmaker. [16]

Policy Positions

Republicans for the Rule of Law opposes many of President Donald Trump’s actions which it believes oversteps the legal bounds of his office. It has consistently efforts to impeach and remove Trump from office. [17]

RRL opposed firing US Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller. [18]

RRL encouraged the Senate to bring in witnesses to testify at President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, particularly Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo. [19]

RRL supported the indictment and supports the imprisonment of former Trump associate and Republican political operative Roger Stone. [20]

In May 2020, Republicans for the Rule of Law announced its plan to spend $1 million on a series of ads urging congressional Republicans to support an expansion to mail-in voting within the next coronavirus stimulus bill. The ads will feature state voters urging Congress to allow vote-by-mail in November due to the danger of in-person voting during the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. [21]

Leadership

RRL does not list any official leaders or staff on its webpage besides its Legal Advisory Board, which includes numerous lawyers and legal scholars primarily associated with right-of-center politicians and causes. [22] The legal advisors include:

  • Chris Traux, a San Diego appellate lawyer, [23] is listed as a legal advisor, and elsewhere as a spokesman for RRL. [24] He has written op-ed pieces about RRL for the Washington Examiner,[25] USA Today,[26] and Inside Sources. [27]
  • Wendell Willkie II, son of 1940 Republican Presidential nominee Wendell Willkie, is an adjunct-fellow at the right-of-center think tank American Enterprise Institute and was appointed general counsel for the Department of Education by President Ronald Reagan. [28]
  • Charles Fried is currently a professor at Harvard University and a board member of the left-of-center legal advocacy group, Campaign Legal Center. He was the US Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan. [29]
  • Slade Gorton is a former U.S. Senator and Attorney General of Washington. [30]
  • David Waller is a member of the non-partisan American Security Project, served as deputy director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and was appointed by President Reagan as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs. [31]
  • Phil Heimlich is a Christian values activist, was a Cincinnati City Councilor, and is the son of Dr. Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver. [32]
  • Peter Rusthoven was a campaign activist and speechwriter for President Reagan. [33]

References

  1. “New Republican Group Launches Pro-Mueller Campaign.” Defending Democracy Together. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/press-release/new-republican-group-launches-pro-mueller-campaign/. ^
  2. Klar, Rebecca. “GOP group calls out five House Republicans to speak up in Ukraine.” The Hill. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/464193-gop-group-calls-on-five-house-republicans-to-speak-out-on-ukraine-scandal. ^
  3. Ludwig, Hayden. “Based On Tax Filings, Bill Kristol’s Been A Democrat For Years.” The Federalist, February 19, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/19/based-on-tax-filings-bill-kristols-been-a-democrat-for-years/. ^
  4. “Republicans for the Rule of Law: Uploads.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4E4Nv5ues3BNPjcDNxStmA/videos. ^
  5. “Republicans to President Trump: Don’t Fire Mueller.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybL5_dy_p9c. ^
  6. “Republicans for the Rule of Law: Uploads.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4E4Nv5ues3BNPjcDNxStmA/videos. ^
  7. Klar, Rebecca. “GOP group calls out five House Republicans to speak up in Ukraine.” The Hill. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/464193-gop-group-calls-on-five-house-republicans-to-speak-out-on-ukraine-scandal. ^
  8. “Republican Group Urges President Trump Not to Compromise the Integrity of the American Justice System.” Defending Democracy Together. Accessed April 9, 2020. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/press-release/republican-group-urges-president-trump-not-to-compromise-the-integrity-of-the-american-justice-system/. ^
  9. Glasser, Susan B. “The Trials of a Never Trump Republican.” The Political Scene. The New Yorker. March 30, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/30/the-trials-of-a-never-trump-republican. ^
  10. Klar, Rebecca. “Republican Group to Hand-Deliver Mueller Report to Every GOP Lawmaker.” The Hill. May 30, 2019. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/446140-republican-group-to-hand-deliver-mueller-report-to-every-gop-lawmaker. ^
  11. Fearnow, Benjamin. “New Republican Ad Asks If GOP Will Defend Trump or The Rule of Law Amid Impeachment.” Politics. Newsweek. December 16, 2019. https://www.newsweek.com/new-republican-ad-asks-if-gop-will-defend-trump-rule-law-amid-impeachment-1477456. ^
  12. Glasser, Susan B. “The Trials of a Never Trump Republican.” The Political Scene. The New Yorker. March 30, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/30/the-trials-of-a-never-trump-republican. ^
  13. Fearnow, Benjamin. “New Republican Ad Asks if GOP Will Defend Trump or the Rule of Law Amid Impeachment.” Newsweek. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.newsweek.com/new-republican-ad-asks-if-gop-will-defend-trump-rule-law-amid-impeachment-1477456. ^
  14. Klar, Rebecca. “GOP group launches ad campaign urging Senators to call witnesses at impeachment trial.” The Hill. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/478659-gop-group-launches-ad-campaign-urging-senators-to-call-witnesses-at. ^
  15. “Donate.” Republicans for the Rule of Law. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com/donate/. ^
  16. Ludwig, Hayden. “Based On Tax Filings, Bill Kristol’s Been A Democrat For Years.” The Federalist, February 19, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/19/based-on-tax-filings-bill-kristols-been-a-democrat-for-years/. ^
  17. “The Senate has Failed.” Republicans for the Rule of Law. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com/. ^
  18. “Republicans to President Trump: Don’t Fire Mueller.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybL5_dy_p9c. ^
  19. “These Witnesses Must Testify.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQOiOBuscf4. ^
  20. “Roger Stone shouldn’t be above the law.” Youtube. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0AcqzesTa4. ^
  21. Herb, Jeremy. “Anti-Trump conservative group presses for expanded vote-by-mail in November.” CNN. May 1, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/01/politics/conservative-ads-mail-voting/ ^
  22. “About Us” Republicans for the Rule of Law. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com/about-us/. ^
  23. “Chris Traux.” Washington Examiner. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/author/chris-truax. ^
  24. Klar, Rebecca. “GOP group calls out five House Republicans to speak up in Ukraine.” The Hill. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/464193-gop-group-calls-on-five-house-republicans-to-speak-out-on-ukraine-scandal. ^
  25. “Chris Traux.” Washington Examiner. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/author/chris-truax. ^
  26. Traux, Chris. “Republican: I’m telling Democrats how to beat Trump in 2020. It’s Job One so get over it.” USA Today. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/07/12/beat-trump-with-mainstream-ideas-not-far-left-fantasies-column/1703543001/. ^
  27. Traux, Chris. “The FBI Passed Its Stress Test.” Inside Sources. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.insidesources.com/fbi-passed-stress-test/. ^
  28. “Wendell Willkie II.” American Enterprise Institute. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.aei.org/profile/wendell-willkie/. ^
  29. “Charles Fried.” Campaign Legal Center. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://campaignlegal.org/staff/charles-fried. ^
  30. “GORTON, Thomas Slade, III.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://bioguideretro.congress.gov/Home/MemberDetails?memIndex=g000333. ^
  31. “David B. Waller.” American Security Project. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.americansecurityproject.org/about/consensus/members/david-b-waller/. ^
  32. “Phil Heimlich.” Catholic Speakers Organization. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://catholicspeakers.com/profiles/phil-heimlich. ^
  33. Groppe, Maureen. “Pence friend explains why he’s part of an anti-Trump group criticizing the vice president.” Indy Star. Accessed February 17, 2020. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/19/pence-friend-explains-why-hes-part-anti-trump-group-criticizing-pence/2374812001/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Sarah Longwell
    Spokeswoman
  See an error? Let us know!

Republicans for the Rule of Law


New York, NY
United States