Ian Bassin

Screen Capture
President and Executive Director:

United to Protect Democracy

Protect Democracy Project

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Ian Bassin is the founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, a left-of-center litigation organization created to oppose the policies of President Donald Trump. 1 Prior to establishing Protect Democracy, Bassin worked at the left-of-center Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley2 and served as Associate White House Counsel to the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011. 3

Opposition to Trump Administration

Ian Bassin’s Protect Democracy sued President Trump, alleging that his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia and WikiLeaks to release Democratic National Committee emails that were acquired by Russian intelligence. 4 The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed all claims raised by Protect Democracy and found their complaint failed to “plead plausible and legally viable claims.” 5

Bassin’s Protect Democracy again sued the Trump administration for terminating a Department of Homeland Security policy that waived a $725 fee for indigent lawful permanent residents applying to naturalize and become citizens of the United States. The litigation resulted in a nationwide injunction, stunting the termination of the program. 6

Protect Democracy also sued the Trump administration to oppose the administration’s declaration of a national emergency on illegal immigration. The declaration allowed funds for military construction projects to be used to construct a border wall between the United States and Mexico. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. 7

2020 Presidential Election

During the 2020 Presidential election, Bassin led Protect Democracy in creating an election litigation firm in Wisconsin to assist in opposing voter integrity and ballot security laws. 8 In related litigation regarding the acceptance of absentee ballots past election day in Wisconsin, Protect Democracy  and the McArthur Justice Center argued that mail-in ballots post-marked between November 3, 2020 and November 9, 2020 should be accepted. 9 The litigation failed before the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 10

In 2019, Bassin successfully sued the South Carolina State Election Commission, forcing the state to switch away from a purely electronic voting system to voting by paper ballots. Earlier that year, Protect Democracy sued the South Carolina Republican Party for not holding a presidential preference primary, opting to select President Trump as the Republican nominee. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the county court in South Carolina denied Protect Democracy’s request for injunctive relief. 11

In 2020, Protect Democracy issued a Freedom of Information Act request to the West Virginia Secretary of State after the state instituted voter integrity laws. The laws allowed individuals in charge of polling centers to cross reference a suspected non-citizen’s information with the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data on non-citizen residents. 12


  1. “Meet the team” Protect Democracy.
  2. “Ian Bassin” Institute of Governmental Studies.
  3. “Meet the team” Protect Democracy.
  4. ‘Protecting Voters’ Right to Privacy” Protect Democracy.
  5. “Memorandum Opinion – Granting Defendant’s Motion to dismiss Amended Complaint” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
  6. “City of Seattle v. DHS” Protect Democracy.
  7. “El Paso County v. Trump” Protect Democracy.
  8. “Wisconsin Progressives Forming Nonprofit Law Firm With Election, Redistricting On Horizon” Wisconsin Public Radio.
  9. “Wisconsin: Protecting Voters and Democracy During the Pandemic” Protect Democracy.
  10. “Wisconsin: Protecting Voters and Democracy During the Pandemic” Protect Democracy.
  11. “Securing South Carolina’s Voting System” Protect Democracy.
  12. “City of Seattle v. DHS” Protect Democracy.
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