An arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national group representing the top law enforcement officers in their states, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the day before the building was stormed by a pro-Trump mob.
“At 1:00 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” said the voice on the recording, which was obtained by NBC News.
The calls, which did not advocate violence or suggest the building should be breached, was sent out by the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The groups share funding, staff and office space in Washington, D.C.
In a statement to NBC News, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who runs the fund, said the calls were sent out without his knowledge.
“I was unaware of unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff with regard to this week’s rally,” said Marshall, who assumed his role Nov. 10.
“Despite currently transitioning into my role as the newly elected chairman of RLDF, it is unacceptable that I was neither consulted about nor informed of those decisions. I have directed an internal review of this matter.”
A website set up to promote the rally that preceded the Capitol incursion lists the Rule of Law Defense Fund as one of the participating organizations. The site has since been taken down.
Adam Piper, the executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association, and Peter Bisbee, the executive director of the fundraising arm, did not return requests for comment about the robocalls, which were first reported by the watchdog group Documented.
A spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, the chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said he “had no knowledge or involvement in this decision.”
“Attorney General Carr has been working diligently to determine how this situation occurred and ensure that it does not happen again,” said spokesperson Katie Byrd.
“The stance of the protestors was not consistent with Attorney General Carr’s position on election fraud. And, as he has been saying since moments after seeing news break, the violence and destruction we saw at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable and un-American.”
The Republican Attorneys General Association raised more than $18 million in 2020 from several top corporations, including Pepsi, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and Comcast, the parent company of NBC News. Its supporters also include interest groups such as the NRA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was its top donor in 2020 with a $750,000 contribution.
Many companies that donated to the Republican Attorneys General Association also gave to the Democratic party equivalent. Several told NBC News that spending money on this kind of recruitment for protest runs counter to the purpose of their donation.
Reached for comment, the Chamber of Commerce provided a statement from Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
“We are appalled at Wednesday’s incursion into the Capital, and did…
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