Ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell raids nonprofits for private use

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Ex-Trump attorney Sidney Powell raids nonprofits for personal use

Former Trump attorney and self-proclaimed “octopus trigger” Sidney Powell has told potential donors that her group “Defending the Republic” is a legal protection fund to protect the integrity of the US elections.

But the company that is suing Powell for its unsubstantiated claims of a rigged presidential election says the real beneficiary of its welfare organization is Powell himself.

Dominion Voting Systems claims Powell defended the Republic coffers to pay personal legal expenses, citing her own remarks from a radio interview. The Denver-based electoral technology company sued Powell and others for making false claims that the company helped Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“Now Powell is trying to misuse the company forms she created for her law firm and fundraising website in order to hide funds she raised through her defamatory campaign and to protect those funds from the company being run by the defamatory campaign was harmed, “Dominion attorneys wrote a judicial filing on May 5th.

The dispute sheds light on how Trump allies will continue to support, spread, and supposedly benefit from lies about fraud in the 2020 election. Although the election has been made and all major legal challenges dismissed, Powell’s legal protection fund continues to raise money with the help of conspiratorial supporters such as QAnon supporters.

Your group will receive a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales for a Memorial Day weekend conference in Dallas, titled “For God & Country Patriot Roundup,” according to the event website. Some of the leading vendors of far-right conspiracy theories are headlining, including Powell, pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood, and former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

Promoter John Sabal, known as “QAnon John” to supporters of QAnon conspiracy theory, declined to explain the decision to fund Powell’s nonprofit, also known as DTR, but said the money was not theirs Advantage.

“As far as I know, DTR benefits a number of different causes. I won’t talk about her, but you can talk to her about that, ”he said.

Powell didn’t respond to interview requests, but one of her lawyers said she denied Dominion’s allegations. Powell’s personal legal bills are covered by her malpractice carrier and her nonprofit organization has a proper corporate structure with a board of directors, her attorney Howard Kleinhendler said.

“She has no absolute control over her funds or how the funds are spent,” wrote Kleinhendler in an email. “DTR intends to meet all state and state filing requirements when due. At this point, you and the rest of the world will see the finances necessary. “

Trump and his allies filed more than 50 lawsuits in multiple states during the election and lost at every turn. Powell and Rudy Giuliani were among the lawyers behind the allegations of Democratic conspiracy despite Republican heads of state, and Trump’s own attorney general and other administrative officials publicly stated that there was no major electoral fraud. Powell appeared with Giuliani at a press conference and appeared on television several times.

But after Powell threatened to blow up Georgia with a “biblical” lawsuit, Trump’s legal team distanced themselves from her, saying she didn’t work for her. She later commented on how she would release “The Kraken,” an obvious reference to the movie “Clash of the Titans,” in which Zeus orders the release of the mythical sea monster.

In a November interview, Powell stated that she was paid not by the Trump campaign, but “by the people of the United States of America.”

Tickets to the Dallas conference are $ 500 for general admission and $ 1,000 for VIP passes. No other beneficiaries are named or how much money will go to Powell’s nonprofit on the event website. Much of the conference was to be held in a complex called Gilley’s Dallas, but Sabal said the venue canceled its booking after reporting on the event’s QAnon connections.

QAnon supporters believe that Trump was secretly fighting a cabal of Satan-worshiped “Deep State” enemies, prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites who run a ring for child sex trafficking.

Logan Strain, a conspiracy theory researcher who co-hosts the QAnon Anonymous podcast, said Powell appeared on the QAnon promoters’ YouTube channels and was considered a “Hero of the Republic” among QAnon supporters. It wouldn’t surprise Strain if Powell tries to use the movement as a fundraiser.

“There is a lot of money to be made to promote and support QAnon,” he said. “Because of this, a lot of people suspected that it was at least partly some kind of money-making from the start.”

The Defense of the Republic describes itself as non-profit under 501 (c) 4, but is not listed on an IRS database of tax-exempt organizations. Groups recognized by the IRS as 501 (c) (4) are exempt from paying income taxes, including donations. However, these donations are not tax deductible as charitable donations.

According to Powell’s website, donors can send checks to an address in West Palm Beach, Florida that corresponds to a UPS store. At the same address, Defending the Republic Inc. was registered in February with Florida’s Division of Corporations as a non-profit organization founded for “social purposes”.

Records connect other leading conspiracy theorists in Trump’s orbit with Powell’s nonprofit. Powell, Wood, Flynn and Flynn’s brother Joseph were named as Directors for Defense of the Republic with the Texas Secretary of State in December 2020.

Joseph Flynn said in a text message that he was no longer a director but declined to explain why.

“We’re not interested in talking to the fake news media,” wrote Flynn.

Wood recalls that Powell asked him to act as a director, but said he didn’t do any work on the nonprofit.

“She didn’t ask me about it,” he said.

MyPillow’s founder and CEO Mike Lindell was named as a director in the Florida statutes filed in February. But Lindell said he asked to be removed from his position as director of defense of the republic in less than a week because he had decided to start his own legal protection fund. Lindell is also being sued by Dominion.

“I went alone because I don’t have time for other people’s things. I want to focus on what I’m doing, ”said Lindell.

The republic’s chairman and CEO’s defense was once former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, whose comments on the “deep state” led to his resignation from Overstock in 2019. Byrne said he stepped down as Republic chairman and CEO in April after less than a month in positions.

To support his claim that Powell is using charitable money for personal legal defense, Dominion quoted her remarks during an appearance on The Rush Limbaugh Show on December 29th. Powell told the radio show’s guest host that listeners could go to their website to donate to the nonprofit City of Detroit and everything else. “

Michigan’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state – all Democrats – have urged prosecutors in Texas and Michigan to permanently bail Powell for ethical violations of election lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Dominion’s director of security, Eric Coomer, has filed a separate defamation lawsuit in Colorado against Powell, her law firm, Defending the Republic, and others. Another electoral technology company, Smartmatic USA Corp., sued Powell in New York for their bogus voting collusion claims.

Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers called on a federal court to order Powell and other attorneys who challenged the Wisconsin election results to pay $ 106,000 in state attorney fees. Powell called it a frivolous request. A judge has not yet resolved the dispute.

Dominion sued Powell in federal court on Jan. 8 for over $ 1.3 billion in damages against her, her law firm, and fundraising website. The company claimed Powell “treated Defending the Republic as their personal money, referred them to the law firm that controls and dominates them … and ambushed them to pay for their personal legal defense.”

A non-profit organization organized under Section 501 (c) (4) of the Tax Code, as claimed by the Defense of the Republic, may engage in some political activities, provided that this is not its main activity. Unlike political committees, tax-exempt social welfare groups are not required to disclose donors. Forms informing the IRS of a group’s intention to act as 501 (c) (4) are not public records, according to an IRS spokesman.

Samuel Brunson, a professor of tax law at Loyola University in Chicago, said the IRS has banned 501 (c) (4) groups from spending money on behalf of individuals. This could jeopardize the tax-exempt status, he added.

“In general, the IRS doesn’t monitor it very closely,” Brunson said.