Long-held suspicions that GOP statehouses were outsourcing the writing of restrictive voting laws to far-right activists were seemingly confirmed in a video obtained by Mother Jones via the watchdog group Documented.
In it, the leader of the advocacy arm for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think based in D.C., brags about the role her organization has played in crafting the wave of restrictive laws cascading across the country.
“In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”
The video was filmed at an April 22 event with donors in Tucson, Arizona, according to Mother Jones. Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage expert who served on President Trump’s voter fraud commission, was also at the gathering, according to Mother Jones. He discussed the private meetings he’s hosted with conservative secretaries of state over the years — the details of which have only been vaguely reported by the press. He and Anderson bragged about their success in keeping secret the details of those meetings, according to Mother Jones’ report.
Anderson told donors that Heritage and its proxies have not only been involved in the drafting of the legislation, but in the strategy to make it law.
She recalled telling Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) to sign the hotly-debated restrictive bill as soon as it landed on his desk.
“I had one message for him: do not wait to sign that bill,” Anderson said. “If you wait even an hour, you will look weak.”
She also described her surprise about how little attention Iowa’s restrictive voting bill attracted. As TPM reported, the legislation drastically shrank the return period for absentee ballots, limited third party delivery of absentee ballots and severely restricted the circumstances in which election officials can send voters mail ballot applications.
“We worked quietly with the Iowa state legislature. We got the best practices to them. We helped draft the bills. We made sure activists were calling the state legislators, getting support, showing up at their public hearings, giving testimony,” Anderson said, according to Mother Jones. “Little fanfare. Honestly, nobody even noticed. My team looked at each other and we’re like, ‘It can’t be that easy.’”