Trump lawyer Eastman participates in Colorado election activists’ private communications

The Jan. 6 figure does not offer group formal legal advice, USEIP spokesperson says

By: - July 1, 2022 1:29 pm

Clockwise from left, Kevin Kookogey, founder and president of Linchpins of Liberty; Diane Besom of the Laurens County Tea Party; John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage; Sue Martinek of the Coalition for Life of Iowa; and Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party; testify during a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee June 4, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

John Eastman, the lawyer alleged to have conspired with former President Donald Trump to illegally overturn the 2020 election, participates in a private email group run by the Colorado-based activist organization U.S. Election Integrity Plan.

He communicated with group members as recently as this week about the Colorado primary election Tuesday.

Eastman’s association with USEIP was indicated by a copy of an exchange that was obtained by Newsline. USEIP spokesperson Holly Kasun confirmed Eastman’s presence in the group.

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He first connected with members of the group when he spoke during a virtual event that included USEIP members in late 2020 or early 2021, Kasun said. Eastman at the time was a visiting scholar of conservative thought at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Benson Center. 

“It was just purely about the Constitution and constitutional law,” Kasun said of the virtual event.

She said the event likely led to Eastman’s inclusion in the online USEIP group.

“There are a lot of people after his talk that wanted to ask him questions. So I’m sure that’s how he, or probably about the time when he, got in there. That’s my best guess,” Kasun said.

The group, based in the project management system Basecamp, is labeled “U.S. Election Integrity Plan HQ” and includes roughly 900 members, according to a list of names that was included in the Eastman exchange. The system is used for “organization communication,” Kasun said.

On Monday, a member of the group posted a question related to the June 28 Colorado primary election. The subject was “Shenanigan Alert: Missing Ballots.”

The member said they had been “canvassing” in El Paso County “and encountered multiple Unaffiliated voters who have only received their Democrat ballot (Republican ballot is missing). This can negatively impact the Republican primary. If you hear of this happening, please collect an affidavit from the voter & report it!”

Unaffiliated voters in Colorado typically receive both a Democratic and Republican primary ballot and are permitted to vote with either ballot but not both.

Eastman responded to the post by noting, accurately, that unaffiliated voters in Colorado can indicate to their county clerk’s office a party preference, in which case they would receive only that party’s ballot.

Eastman does not offer USEIP formal legal advice or represent the organization, Kasun said. “He’s just an average citizen in there,” she said.

Notable figures besides Eastman appear to be included in the USEIP HQ message group. They include Sherronna Bishop, the former campaign manager for election deniers U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who lost her bid for the GOP Colorado secretary of state nomination Tuesday; Draza Smith, a nationally prominent election denier; Anya Kirvan, the Republican candidate for Colorado House District 12; Lori Cutunilli, organizer of attempts to recall Gov. Jared Polis; Matt Struck, the Cowboys for Trump figure and insurrectionist; and Jeff Eggemeyer, the 2016 Denver co-chair for the Trump campaign.

Newsline’s attempts to reach Eastman through social media and The Claremont Institute, where he is a senior fellow, were unsuccessful.

Based on evidence presented this month during hearings before a U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Eastman illegally conspired with Trump to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject slates of electors from several states won by President Joe Biden in 2020. Eastman later asked another Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for a presidential pardon.

The committee reportedly has obtained emails between Eastman and Ginni Thomas, an election conspiracist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, on the subject of election litigation.

On Wednesday, FBI agents in New Mexico seized Eastman’s cell phone as part of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into the Jan. 6 insurrection.

USEIP was founded in the aftermath of the 2020 election on the premise that elections in Colorado and beyond are unreliable. One of its most prominent associates is Shawn Smith, a Colorado election denier who participated in the insurrection and is president of the Mike Lindell-funded “election integrity” organization Cause of America.

In March USEIP released a “Colorado Canvassing Report” that claimed to demonstrate widespread irregularities in the 2020 election and called for “a full forensic audit of the entire election system.”

Claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent or compromised have been debunked by experts, courts and election officials from both parties.

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