Senate report: Perry, Mastriano stoked fears of election fraud

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry U.S. Department of Agriculture

Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee recently released a report detailing former President Donald Trump’s attempts to pressure the U.S. Department of Justice into overturning the results of the 2020 general election in his favor. 

The report, which was developed by Democratic committee staff, highlighted a months-long effort from Trump and his allies to try and discount the results of the presidential contest with claims of voter fraud that have been debunked by judges, as well as officials from Trump’s own administration. It also underscored attempts from some of Pennsylvania’s elected leaders to aid in Trump’s endeavor and called for their actions to be further investigated. 

The committee report singled out U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and state Sen. Doug Mastriano, and also detailed Trump’s plan to try and have the U.S. Supreme Court prevent the state’s 2020 election results from being used to appoint electors. 

Below are three major takeaways from the committee’s staff report. 

The committee says Scott Perry and Doug Mastriano pushed false and discredited voter fraud claims.

In addition to outlining Trump’s efforts to recruit DOJ staff to echo – and act on – his election fraud claims, the Senate Judiciary Committee report also describes attempts by Perry and Mastriano to push debunked claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. 

According to the report, Perry called former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue on Dec. 27, 2020 to voice concerns with how the DOJ was handling election-related complaints. Perry later sent Donoghue documents detailing multiple instances of election irregularities that ultimately turned out to be inaccurate. Among them, Perry claimed that there were 205,000 more votes than registered voters in the 2020 general election, an analysis that was later found to be based on incomplete data. Perry also claimed that more than 4,000 Pennsylvanians voted more than once, an assertion that also turned out to be false, according to the committee report. 

Mastriano, the state senator who rose to fame as a strong supporter of Trump, sent a letter of his own to Donoghue, raising similar false claims of widespread voter fraud. The report also mentions Mastriano’s spending of thousands of dollars from his campaign account to bus people to Trump’s Jan. 6 rally, as well as video that showed Mastriano on the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 insurrection. However, the report stressed that no footage has shown that Mastriano entered the Capitol that day.

Trump wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Pennsylvania’s – and other swing states’ – electoral votes.

Following the Nov. 6 general election, Trump pressed the DOJ to file a complaint before the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to prevent six states – including Pennsylvania – from using 2020 election results to appoint electors. 

The complaint, which was ultimately never filed, asked the Supreme Court to declare that the six states – Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada – administered the presidential election in violation of the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The complaint also would have asked the court to allow states to conduct special elections to appoint new electors. 

DOJ officials told Trump they couldn’t file the challenge, with the Office of Solicitor General maintaining that there was “no legal basis” for the suit.

The committee wants the House select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection to investigate Perry and Mastriano.

One of the most significant findings in the report – as it relates to Pennsylvania – is the committee’s call for “further investigation” into how efforts from Perry and Mastriano to challenge election results may be tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

In its recommendations, the committee said Perry, Mastriano and Trump campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell’s ties to Jan. 6 are “notable” and should be investigated “to better place Trump’s efforts to enlist the DOJ in his efforts to overturn the presidential election in context with the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

The Democratic committee staff said those potential ties are outside of its purview, prompting them to make the report available to the public, as well as the House committee investigating Jan. 6.

In a statement to multiple mediaoutlets, Mastriano called the allegations “hyper partisan” and said the “repetitive allegations in this ‘report’ are part of an ongoing, desperate attempt to distract from what progressive policies are doing to our country.”

Perry, meanwhile, acknowledged that he “is in the hot seat” to ABC 27, but said the Senate report is an attempt by Democrats to distract the public from President Joe Biden’s record.

“There’s no new information here,” Perry told ABC 27. “Whether it’s the economy, whether it’s a retreat from Afghanistan, or whether it’s the abject failure on our southern border. This is Joe Biden and Democrats trying to distract from that.”