US media is reporting on how US Republican false claims about a stolen election originated with a Texas businessman and his associates. The Washington Post report begins:
May 9, 2021 Key elements of the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump took shape in an airplane hangar here two years earlier, promoted by a Republican businessman who has sold everything from Tex-Mex food in London to a wellness technology that beams light into the human bloodstream. At meetings beginning late in 2018, as Republicans were smarting from midterm losses in Texas and across the country, Russell J. Ramsland Jr. and his associates delivered alarming presentations on electronic voting to a procession of conservative lawmakers, activists and donors. Briefings in the hangar had a clandestine air. Guests were asked to leave their cellphones outside before assembling in a windowless room. A member of Ramsland’s team purporting to be a “white-hat hacker” identified himself only by a code name. Ramsland, a failed congressional candidate with a Harvard MBA, pitched a claim that seemed rooted in evidence: Voting-machine audit logs — lines of codes and time stamps that document the machines’ activities — contained indications of vote manipulation. In the retrofitted hangar that served as his company’s offices at the edge of a municipal airstrip outside Dallas, Ramsland attempted to persuade failed Republican candidates to challenge their election results and force the release of additional data that might prove manipulation.“We had to find the right candidate,” said Laura Pressley, a former Ramsland ally whose own claim that audit logs showed fraud had been rejected in court two years earlier. “We had to find one who knew they won.”RamslandHuffines He made the pitch to Don Huffines, a state senator in Texas. Huffines declined.
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Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reporting on US disinformation related to the elections has included:
- A December 2020 report on an election disinformation video posted by the head of the Arizona Republican Party expounding a conspiracy theory centered on election machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems.
- A December 2020 report on a speech by US President Donald Trump generally described as containing wildly inaccurate claims about the US elections.
- January 2021 report on how online disinformation about alleged US election fraud dropped massively following the decision by Twitter to ban President Trump and key allies.