Donald Trump made a very specious claim about the election. It is one that has no supporting evidence at all and originated with a single tweet from a conservative activist named Gregg (Or Greg) Phillips.
Here is Trump’s tweet:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
The accusation arose with Phillips tweet on November 11th:
Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations.
Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million.
Consulting legal team.
— Gregg Phillips (@JumpVote) November 11, 2016
He repeated the claim two days later:
We have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens.
— Gregg Phillips (@JumpVote) November 13, 2016
Naturally, the usual suspects like InfoWars, Paul Joseph Watson, and others. They described it as a “report.” There is no “report.” It’s Phillips tweets and nothing more. After Trump had tweeted what he did, Phillips chimed in:
.@realDonaldTrump is accurate. Millions of illegal votes were cast.
We began work on this project in 2009.
Obamas DOJ covered it up.
— Gregg Phillips (@JumpVote) November 28, 2016
Phillips says he is working with the organization, ‘True The Vote’ to initiate their legal action. True The Vote issued a statement today that reads in part:
HOUSTON, TX. – November 27, 2016: True the Vote (TTV), the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, today released a statement with respect to President-elect Donald Trump’s claim that “millions” of individuals illegally voted in the 2016 Election.
“True the Vote absolutely supports President-elect Trump’s recent comment about the impact of illegal voting, as reflected in the national popular vote. We are still collecting data and will be for several months, but our intent is to publish a comprehensive study on the significant impact of illegal voting in all of its many forms and begin a national discussion on how voters, states, and the Trump Administration can best address this growing problem.”
Of course, the statement made by TTV contradicts Phillips claim. He says they verified the information. True The Vote says they are still collecting data. Which is it? It stands to reason if Phillips confirmed the fraud, they had reliable data they could query to determine millions of people illegally voted. I decided to ask Phillips after he had said he had “proof.” I tweeted the following at him:
@JumpVote You say this is based on voter data. What voter data did you use? Where did you purchase it? When? State purchase or 3rd party?
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) November 28, 2016
And this based on his original claim:
@JumpVote Also, you originally tweeted 3 million votes were cast by non-citizens on Nov 13. How could you possibly know this at that time?
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) November 28, 2016
Phillips never replied. Instead, he blocked me.
I spoke with a former employee at True The Vote who wished to remain anonymous. This person told me Phillips began a business relationship with Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of True The Vote after Phillips created an app called ‘Vote Stand’ (it allows people to collect instances of voter fraud, but since people are not adequately trained on how to spot fraud, the data is unreliable).
According to the source, TTV started buying voter rolls dating back to 2010. This allows them to say they have “millions” of voter files, but if the data is not updated after each election, the data couldn’t possibly be accurate. The source said they do not do this. They’ll buy data after sending out a fundraising email when they say they’re preparing for a voter fraud fight in a particular state. They can easily make a claim they have a lot of “data, ” but it has little value if they’re not doing anything with it or keeping it up to date.
This is what makes Phillips claim so specious. How could he possibly verify millions of people voted illegally a mere five days after the election? Gathering that amount of information requires time and a lot of money. If they have the proof as Phillips claims, why not release it?
Phillips has somewhat of a checkered past. While he’s never been accused of any illegal activity, he surely has a history of attempting to gain financially from government positions he has held:
As a 33-year-old with no previous administrative experience, Phillips had not long been in charge of the 4,300-employee agency before questions began to surface about his management decisions and the disallowance of $2 million in MDHS expenditures by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
At the heart of the controversy was a deal Phillips made for a workforce training program based at Ole Miss called LEAP.
In late April, 1995 Phillips resigned his MDHS post and immediately entered into a contract with Synesis Corporation, an outfit whose Centec subsidiary Phillips had been doing business with at MDHS. The PEER committee was already hot on finding out about Phillips dealings.
That resulted in a searing PEER report charging that Phillips had in effect set Centec up in business with an $878,000 contract and now was profiting from it to the tune of $84,000 a year.
PEER, with a recommendation that Phillips’ “impropriety” likely constituted a violation of state conflict of interest laws, turned it over to the Attorney General’s office and urged lawmakers to tighten ethics laws regarding state executive appointees who are not elective officials. Unfortunately, Phillips was never charged with a law violation before he moved on to pastures out of state.
The source who worked for True The Vote thinks a lot of this is meant to get a seat at the table with President-elect Donald Trump. What the end goal is, remains to be seen.
That said, as long as Gregg Phillips and True The Vote are going to make their accusations under a cloud of secrecy, nobody should take them seriously, let alone the man who will be the next President.