Other Group

65 Project

Website:

https://the65project.com/

Formation:

2022

Managing Director:

Michael Teter

Type:

Legal advocacy

The 65 Project is a campaign targeting lawyers who aided attempts by then-President Donald Trump and his supporters to overturn the 2020 election results using advertisements, threats of disbarment, and changing rules within the American Bar Association, ostensibly to deter future similar efforts.

The 65 Project was “devised” by Democratic consultant and former Clinton administration official Melissa Moss. It is a project of Law Works, a group with no website or public financial disclosures. [1] The name “65 Project” refers to the number of lawsuits filed by supporters of President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election. [2]

Mission

The 65 Project was launched to punish lawyers who supported President Trump and to dissuade future attempts to overturn elections on illegitimate grounds. [3] [4]

According to the 65 Project, then-President Trump and a group of lawyers attempted to steal the 2020 presidential election by filing dozens of false lawsuits to disrupt the electoral process and permit Trump or his sympathizers to use their power to overturn the election results. The 65 Project refers to these lawyers as the “army of Big Lie Lawyers,” a reference to the concept of a lie so ostentatious that people doubt it could be credibly fabricated, a principle credited to Second World War-era Nazi propaganda. [5]

Campaign

In March 2022, the 65 Project launched by filing ethics complaints against 10 lawyers who worked on lawsuits to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in favor of Trump. The group seeks to disbar 111 lawyers from 26 states in total. The targeted lawyers include President Trump’s legal advisors such as Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, lawyers who were purported “alternate electors” for Trump, and attorneys who allegedly supported the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. [6]

The group will air ads in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all battleground states. The 65 Project will also encourage the American Bar Association to codify rules banning frivolous attempts to overturn elections. [7]

The 65 Project expressed plans to spend $2.5 million on its campaign in its first year. [8]

Criticisms

Though the 65 Project claims to be bipartisan, [9] it is not targeting any Democratic-aligned attorneys who have challenged election laws or results in the past, and is advised exclusively by Democrats and Democratic allies. Texas attorney Paul Davis has described the project as “a desperate attempt by leftist hacks and mercenaries” and an effort “to neutralize anyone on the right with the ability to stand in the way of the left’s efforts to hide malfeasance in the 2020 elections and to clear the path for a repeat of similar malfeasance in the 2022 mid-terms.” [10]

Leadership

Attorney Michael Teter is the managing director of the 65 Project. He was previously a general counsel for Represent.Us, a left-of-center campaign finance regulation advocacy group, and he was an assistant attorney general in Utah. From 2006-2008, Teter was a litigation associate with Perkins Coie, a law firm with close ties to the Democratic National Committee. He worked as the Wisconsin state field director for the presidential campaign of John Kerry (D-MA) and managed the Senatorial campaign of former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). Early in his career, Teter served as the deputy finance director of the California Democratic Party. [11]

The 65 Project is advised by David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America and American Bridge 21st Century. [12]

Another advisor to the 65 Project is Detroit lawyer David Fink, who successfully persuaded a judge to sanction nine lawyers involved in the “Kraken” lawsuit, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood. David’s son, Nathan Fink, is an advisor as well. [13]

The 65 Project’s advisory board includes former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), former Department of Homeland Security official Paul Rosenzweig, former Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham, and former American Bar Association president Roberta Ramo. [14]

References

  1. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html ^
  2. Klasfeld, Adam. “Advocacy Group Files Wave of Ethics Complaints Against Jenna Ellis and Other ‘Big Lie Lawyers’ Who Tried to Overturn Election for Trump.” Law and Crime. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/advocacy-group-files-wave-of-ethics-complaints-against-jenna-ellis-and-other-big-lie-lawyers-who-tried-to-overturn-election-for-trump/. ^
  3. “Our Mission.” The 65 Project. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://the65project.com/. ^
  4. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html. ^
  5. “Our Mission.” The 65 Project. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://the65project.com/. ^
  6. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html. ^
  7. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html. ^
  8. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html ^
  9. Klasfeld, Adam. “Advocacy Group Files Wave of Ethics Complaints Against Jenna Ellis and Other ‘Big Lie Lawyers’ Who Tried to Overturn Election for Trump.” Law and Crime. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/advocacy-group-files-wave-of-ethics-complaints-against-jenna-ellis-and-other-big-lie-lawyers-who-tried-to-overturn-election-for-trump/. ^
  10. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html ^
  11. Michael Teter.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-teter-7b0a8a1a2/. ^
  12. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html. ^
  13. Klasfeld, Adam. “Advocacy Group Files Wave of Ethics Complaints Against Jenna Ellis and Other ‘Big Lie Lawyers’ Who Tried to Overturn Election for Trump.” Law and Crime. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/advocacy-group-files-wave-of-ethics-complaints-against-jenna-ellis-and-other-big-lie-lawyers-who-tried-to-overturn-election-for-trump/ ^
  14. Markay, Lachlan; Swan, Jonathan. “Scoop: High-powered group targets Trump lawyers’ livelihoods.” Axios. March 7, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.axios.com/trump-election-lawyers-disbar-5c2b9252-d15d-495f-a759-2446d9fa62e8.html. ^
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