Democrats burned through $1.4 million in legal fees during their attempts to overturn Iowa’s state-certified Second Congressional District election.
Marc Elias has been the Democrats’ go-to election attorney, and reports indicate that Democrats paid him more than a million dollars during the failed effort to flip the election result.
According to a report by the National Journal, since 2009 — when Elias (pictured) became the head of political law at the firm Perkins Coie — the firm has billed Democrat campaigns and committees more than $170 million. The report continued to add, in March alone, the House Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), paid Perkins Coie more than $1.4 million. “Recount services” was the reasoning behind the payment, according to the quarterly campaign filings.
In March, Elias was the lead attorney for the partisan efforts by Democrats in their attempt to overturn Iowa’s state-certified Second Congressional District election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was trying to pad her majority by flipping the seat, which Republicans won by six votes in 2020, to Democrat Rita Hart. Hart lost the election to Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) by six votes after the election was recounted and certified. Hart tried to get the Committee on House Administration to overturn the state-certified election.
Elias, rather than contesting the election in the state court, tried to use the Democrat-run House to invoke its powers under the Federal Contested Elections Act (FCEA) to unseat Miller-Meeks and seat Hart, which would have been the first time since the 1980s that the House had used that power. The optics of this move by Democrats, who ripped Republicans who questioned the presidential election results last year, were particularly damaging to the party’s brand — and eventually, under immense pressure, Hart backed down along with House Democrats. The challenge was withdrawn, and Miller-Meeks has been able to serve since as the rightful and certified winner of the election. Elias told National Journal that he believes the optics — the politics of challenging certified election result — “evolve over time.”
“You’ve got to fight the fights you fight day by day and then figure the politics are going to evolve over time,” Elias told National Journal when asked about that inconsistency.
Elias, in the end, lost the battle. Breitbart News reported that Elias was going to struggle to convince enough Democrats to overturn the result, as more and more members of his own party were publicly opposing his effort because the Democrats have a very slim majority in the House. After weeks of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) hammering Democrats with targeted ads against, Hart withdrew her challenge at the end of March, after nine Democrats came out against the effort.
In response to the news that the DCCC wasted over a million dollars on the failed attempt to overturn a state-certified election in Iowa, Mike Berg, NRCC spokesman, said in a statement: “Nobody knows how to light money on fire like the DCCC.”
The NRCC took the lead of applying the public pressure to target vulnerable Democrats who were trying to “subvert the will of Iowa voters and overturn the certified results in Iowa’s Second Congressional District.” The NRCC made sure the Democrats were held accountable. In addition to the ads, the NRCC also conducted a poll showing 68 percent opposed Pelosi’s attempt to overturn the election.