A conservative group led by former national security adviser and Trump cop Michael Flynn is trying to recruit thousands of police officers to work as poll watchers on Election Day — and is turning to QAnon conspiracy theorists to help in their recruitment efforts.
The group, dubbed “One More Mission,” describes itself as an impartial attempt to recruit military veterans, as well as police officers and other emergency responders, to monitor elections to “defend our constitutional right to vote.”
“Our team wanted to find a non-political solution, a business solution if you will,” says one man in a recruitment video.
One More Mission’s promotional materials argue that police officers and veterans are the most trusted individuals in the United States and therefore should be used to reassure the public that elections are legitimate. In a press release in late September announcing its launch, the group claimed to be a politically independent solution to fears of voter fraud.
“This is just an opportunity for these guys to continue the mission of protecting the integrity of our Constitution,” Travis Wilson, a former Green Beret turned dietary supplement owner who also works with One More Mission, told The Daily Beast.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, a spokeswoman for One More Mission initially said she wasn’t sure who funded the organization. In reality, despite its claims to be bipartisan, One More Mission is funded by another group led by some of the country’s most prominent pro-Trump election deniers. In a single sentence on its website, One More Mission reveals that it is funded by the America Project, a group of people who believe the 2020 election was stolen and that of Flynn, his brother Joseph and the multimillionaire former CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne.
The America Project has spent millions of dollars on conservative electoral efforts, many aimed at promoting “electoral integrity.” Now, with One More Mission, the group wants to recruit tens of thousands more election observers with military and police experience, according to a video Byrne posted online.
In his interview with The Daily Beast, Wilson spoke vaguely about concerns that the election could be stolen, but declined to cite specific instances of fraud in 2020.
“I won’t go into that,” Wilson said.
Instead, he cited videos of Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Arizona governor, spreading false claims of vote-stealing.
But Byrne has no such concerns. He wrote a book about his vote-fraud theories, filled with details about how he believes nefarious forces he calls “thugs” stole the election from Donald Trump. In the final days of the Trump presidency, Byrne attended a White House meeting with Flynn and others where some participants urged Trump to impose martial law or use the military to confiscate ballots.
Byrne did not respond to a request for comment.
One More Mission’s website makes no mention of Byrne or Flynn, instead emphasizing members of the group with law enforcement and military backgrounds. But on the fringes of the QAnon conspiracy theorists media ecosystem, Byrne has run his own campaign to recruit cops and veterans from a conspiracy theory movement based on the idea that Trump will one day launch a fascist purge and jail his enemies.
In a late September appearance on the QAnon show Patriot Streetfighter, Byrne made it clear that his support for One More Mission was based on the idea that the 2020 election was stolen. Byrne said the group had already received interest from around 1,000 people just days after its launch.
“We’re going through a psy-op,” Byrne said, explaining his belief that voter fraud was part of a “psychological operation” to destroy the United States.
Later in the promotional appearance for One More Mission, Byrne agreed with his pro-QAnon host’s claim that a sinister “cabal” was smuggling murderers and rapists into the United States.
Whatever One More Mission’s purpose in recruiting its poll observers, it’s clear that Republicans have had problems with the credibility of some of their previous prominent witnesses to voter fraud. Mellissa Carone, an alleged witness championed by Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, was revealed to have a criminal past and saw her unconventional behavior mocked Saturday night live. In court filings, former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell quoted an expert on voter fraud who was later exposed as exaggerating his military background.
Amateur hunts for voter fraud have already prompted at least one law enforcement investigation. Earlier this week, the Arizona Secretary of State referred a complaint to the Justice Department about a group of people following a person who cast a ballot.
One More Mission supporters insist the group does not encourage violence or the carrying of guns at polling sites. In interviews with QAnon officials about the group, Byrne mentions that election observers must be peaceful.
“We will not be bouncers or security guards,” Wilson said. “We won’t look like thugs.”
However, some of the group’s promotional videos are more aggressive. One describes the organization as a “call to arms” and shows what appear to be WWII-era newsreels of marching soldiers and bomb-dropping planes.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/michael-flynn-group-recruits-cops-and-military-veterans-for-one-more-mission-to-watch-election-sites?source=articles&via=rss The Michael Flynn Group is recruiting police officers and military veterans for “another mission” to monitor polling sites