The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) was established as a 527 nonprofit in 2002 in order to “elect Republicans” to all state offices and local legislatures. Through its Judicial Fairness Initiative, the committee also works to ensure that conservative judges get elected to state courts.
For years the RSLC had been affiliated with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) but in January 2014, several members of the group announced their intention to split off as an independent group. Still echoing RAGA’s own verbiage, however, the RSLC also describes itself as “America’s only line of defense”—in this case, “against socialism” at the state level.
More than a decade ago, the RSLC led “REDMAP” efforts to ensure GOP control of the 2010 redistricting process. A 2016 Politico story revealed that the group helped Indian tribes “launder” money from casinos in order to pour it into campaign donations to Republican candidates running at the state level. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has donated $7.4 million to the RSLC.
In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, the RSLC created a Commission on Election Integrity to do just the opposite of what it purports—by drafting “legislative solutions” to suppress voting. In February 2022, the RSLC announced that it would donate record amounts to state Supreme Court races to ensure that conservative judges would win.
The Big Lie
- In 2022, a handful of Republican candidates for secretary of state, the office responsible for overseeing elections in each state, ran on Trump’s Big Lie. The former president endorsed far-right secretary of state candidates willing to lie about election results in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and New Mexico. Yet every single one of these candidates lost.