Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has been overshadowed during the Biden administration by a few of his equally right-wing congressional colleagues — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) — but a new revelation in The Washington Post has catapulted him firmly back into the spotlight.
According to The Post, leaked emails and social media messages implicate Gosar in a scheme to artificially create a “grassroots” protest in the days immediately following the 2020 presidential election that aimed to show widespread support for Donald Trump’s accusations of a rigged election.
Even worse, the protest was not even in Rep. Gosar’s home state of Arizona, but in neighboring Nevada where, two days after the election, a group of Trump supporters —including several men conspicuously dressed in Proud Boys regalia — gathered at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas where ballots were being counted, a demonstration that ultimately failed to disrupt the counting of the election results.
These demonstrations, like others that took place around the country, were primarily designed to promulgate Trump’s lies about voter fraud and a stolen presidency to as wide a media audience as possible and were crucial in agitating the rejected ex-president’s base to the point that they attempted to stop the certification of the election results by launching a violent invasion of Congress.
Gosar’s involvement in organizing the fake “populist” demonstration was revealed by a progressive activist who infiltrated far-right extremist groups to the extent that she was contacted by a consultant working with the Nevada GOP who then asked for her assistance in recruiting the Proud Boys to attend the North Las Vegas protest.
According to The Washington Post:
“Woodrow Johnston, the vice president of McShane LLC, a consultancy that had been hired by the party to investigate electoral fraud, wrote on Nov. 4 to Sarah Ashton-Cirillo in a Facebook Messenger chat, telling her that Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), one of his firm’s clients, was preparing a “Brooks Brothers Riot” in Arizona. That was a reference to the Republican protests that disrupted vote counting in Florida after the 2000 presidential election.”
“‘We might need to do the same here in Nevada,’ Johnston wrote, according to copies of the correspondence given to The Washington Post by Ashton-Cirillo, the authenticity of which Johnston did not contest. ‘Which means we need to get the Proud Boys out.’”
Subsequently, Johnston denied that his messages to Ashton-Cirillo were on behalf of the Nevada Republican Party or the McShane consultancy.
Congressman Gosar, although clearly mentioned by Johnston as the organizer of the Arizona “Brooks Brothers Riot,” denied any involvement through his chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein.
“We did not communicate with him about any rally, and what he meant by that is up to him,” Van Flein claims.
The newspaper account of the rest of the circumstances surrounding the Nevada Election Department protests suggests a massive internal rift in that state’s GOP between those members who have tried to distance themselves from right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the more diehard Trump supporters.
Until a full investigation of the events that led up to the January 6th insurrection is conducted, the truth about the involvement of Republicans like Rep. Gosar in the planning of the “Stop the Steal” rally and the protests leading up to it will not be known.
Now that the Senate GOP has killed the possibility of a bipartisan congressional investigation, it is up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make good on her threats to investigate the Capitol invasion without the participation of the Senate and get to the bottom of the political maneuvering that preceded it.
You can read The Washington Post‘s full report of the behind-the-scenes story of the Nevada Republican Party’s phony “grassroots” protests at this link.
Original reporting by Michael Scherer at The Washington Post.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.