WFB: Priorities USA’s efforts in Michigan to get 2016 data so ‘unusual’ numerous gov’t agencies were alerted.
A massive effort to obtain Michigan voter data spearheaded by powerhouse Democratic group Priorities USA was so “unusual” that top officials in the state contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security over the matter, internal emails provided to the Washington Free Beacon show.
Michigan clerks began receiving “mystery” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests last year from an opaque limited liability company, the United Impact Group LLC, seeking a large assortment of voter data from across the state, including ballots cast in the 2016 elections. The efforts were later linked to the Priorities USA Foundation, the separate but affiliated nonprofit arm of Priorities USA Action, the largest outside liberal super PAC.
The requests from the group “unnerved” local clerks, the Detroit News reported at the time.
Even though Priorities had been publicly tied to the effort, and officials were aware of the connection, the nature of the requests and the opacity of the LLC alarmed officials to such a high degree that numerous government agencies were alerted, according to emails shared with the Free Beaconobtained through Michigan records requests by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a group that litigates to protect election integrity.
“Attached and below you will find information regarding an unusual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that has been pursued in Michigan,” Mike Senyko, then the chief of staff in Michigan’s secretary of state’s office wrote in an Aug. 28, 2018, email to a senior adviser on election security at the Department of Homeland Security. “Following is a brief summary: All, or virtually all, of the local units of government in Michigan have received a FOIA request asking for ballots from the November 2016 presidential elections in Michigan. The State has not received the request. In addition to the request itself being unusual, the organization/person behind it was not easily identified – specifically Emily of the United Impact Group in Astoria, NY. In most instances, identifying information was redacted by the requestor furthering the unusualness of the request.”
“Yesterday, a local clerk informed us that the email in the FOIA was ultimately linked to a firstname.lastname@example.org. Since that time, it has been discovered through media reports that the request is probably associated with a group called ‘Priorities USA Foundation,'” Senyko said. “However, with the unusualness of the request, the lack of transparency in the request, and an unusual email connection, I have chosen to forward this information to you directly. We had already begun to share this with the FBI in Detroit as well.”