Founded in Chicago in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a right-wing public interest law firm with a network of attorneys throughout the U.S. The firm describes itself as a “not-for-profit… dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty.” Focal points of the Thomas More Society’s litigation include attacking abortion rights as well as promoting prayer in school and other public spaces. The firm also has an election integrity practice “focused on ensuring elections are conducted in accordance with state and federal laws and the constitution.” In 2021, the Thomas More Society won cases in California against the governor’s efforts to close churches during the height of the Covid pandemic and recouped legal fees through settlements from the state amounting to more than $2 million.
January 6, 2021
- Donors Trust, a major funder to the Thomas More Society, also funded groups that organized and carried out the insurrection. The right-wing dark money group gave at least $1 million to the Society for general operations and another $1 million for its Amistad Project, which sought to overturn election results.
The Big Lie
- The Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project launched challenges to official election results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, with the Trump campaign announcing that it would join several of the lawsuits on a case-by-case basis. The lawsuits included multiple claims that had been “mentioned in past unsuccessful lawsuits or… criticized by election experts.”
- The Thomas More Society collaborated with Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer and head of the right-wing advocacy group Look Ahead America, to independently collect voter data and claim that there had been massive election fraud.
- As evidence of voter fraud, Erick Kardaal, an attorney for the Thomas More Society, interviewed elderly residents of nursing homes who cast votes in 2020 as well as family members who alleged their elderly relatives should not have voted. The interviews were later played for the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections. But as the Wisconsin Examiner pointed out, under Wisconsin law simply being elderly is not grounds for disenfranchisement. Instead, “a judge must decide that someone is incompetent before taking away their right to vote.”
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- The Thomas More Society filed lawsuits in Michigan and elsewhere to block the use of funding from outside sources to assist with election infrastructure. Specifically, the lawsuits targeted the use of funding from the Mark Zuckerberg-supported Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR). The Thomas More Society alleged that the funding allowed private donors to illegally control aspects of the election in an effort to harvest votes favoring Joe Biden.