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Matthew DePerno


Matthew DePerno, a right-wing lawyer based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, won the 2022 GOP primary for attorney general in Michigan and ran in the general election with Trump’s endorsement but lost to Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel.

DePerno has been in private practice since the mid 1990s when he earned his JD at the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Law, followed by a master’s degree in taxation from New York University School of Law. His practice generally focuses on IRS issues and tax litigation, along with business issues such as mergers and acquisitions, contracts, corporate governance, business management, and commercial and construction litigation.

Following the 2020 presidential election, DePerno became an outspoken proponent of the Big Lie that Biden stole his win from Trump. Since then he has devoted much of his energy to filing lawsuits in Michigan on behalf of the former president.

January 6, 2021

  • DePerno claims to have met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s staff in Washington on the day rioters stormed the Capitol. “On January 6, 2021, I was in the State Department briefing Mike Pompeo’s staff on how the election was stolen,” DePerno wrote on a questionnaire related to his candidacy for Michigan Attorney General, according to the Washington Post.

The Big Lie

  • On Nov. 23, 2020, DePerno filed suit on behalf of a man from Antrim County, Michigan, who claimed the county had overseen a fraudulent election. On election night, the county initially misreported polling numbers but quickly corrected the error. DePerno’s lawsuit fueled right-wing conspiracy theories about the election before and after the case was dismissed in May 2021.
  • After a judge gave DePerno and his plaintiff permission to access data from Michigan voting machines, an associate of his “appeared to tweet raw data from Antrim County voting machines,” according to The Daily Beast. Later, conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell reportedly leaked more Antrim County voter data at a conference. 
  • According to records from a separate lawsuit, DePerno was in close contact with at least one reporter from the pro-Trump cable station, One America News (OAN), which spread false claims of election fraud and the lie that antifa was behind the violent attack on the Capitol. 
  • In a campaign speech in October 2021, DePerno said that Michigan’s GOP should have decertified the 2020 election and conducted more investigations into local procedures for handling it. 
  • In 2021, Deperno appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room, where he repeated the same baseless and debunked allegations of voter fraud.
  • In 2021, DePerno created three separate “election defense” funds, ostensibly to bankroll his lawsuits. According to The Daily Beast, he actually directed all the money—more than $300,000—that he raised through one of them to his own accounts. 
  • For over a year after the election, DePerno used Twitter to spread unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election. “What a HORRIBLE ANNIVERSARY! It’s been ONE YEAR since Biden took office and the election was STOLEN!” he wrote on Jan. 20, 2021. “Joe Biden is destroying our country and we MUST STOP him!”
  • In 2022, Trump endorsed DePerno for attorney general, saying that he had “defended the Constitution for 20 years” and that he “relentlessly fights to reveal the truth about the Nov. 3 presidential election scam.”
  • Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who peddled the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory and called for Trump to declare martial law following the 2020 election, also endorsed him, according to DePerno’s campaign website. “I am endorsing Matthew DePerno… for Michigan’s next Attorney General because he fights for the TRUTH,” Flynn effused. “He will fight for election integrity, health freedom, protecting your rights, especially our 2nd Amendment, and ending corruption.”
  • If he had won his bid for attorney general in Michigan, DePerno would have become the state’s top law enforcement officer and gained legal authority to influence the electoral process. “We are dealing with radical cultural Marxists who want to change our country,” he warned at an Oct. 1, 2022 campaign rally.

Election Audits

  • Before Trump had exhausted his options for illegally hanging on to the presidency, DePerno unsuccessfully advocated for election audits in Michigan. 
  • DePerno raised $280,000 for the election audit in Arizona, according to Cyber Ninjas, the pro-Trump company that conducted it. 

Post-2020 Election Subversion