TOPEKA, KANSAS — Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline resumed riding waves of contested-election controversy Tuesday in battleground states at the center of President Donald Trump’s bid to block ascent of President-elect Joe Biden.
Kline’s role in the legal apparatus has been to help with a flurry of lawsuits alleging Trump was outflanked in key states by well-financed, technologically savvy collaborators eager for the GOP president’s exit. As director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, Kline has shared theories about election theft on Fox News and during interviews with an array of conservative political outlets. His time under the spotlight also features arguments for how Trump could achieve this reversal of fortune.
Kline alleged, for example, the volume of potentially corrupt ballots in Georgia was 15 times greater than Biden’s advantage over the president. He personally produced Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia, three whistleblowers with “substantial evidence of unlawful actions” by election officials and “widespread illegal efforts” by U.S. Postal Service workers to influence the election.
In a theme echoed by Trump, Kline said the 2020 election was one of the most lawless in U.S. history. Kline said he was apprehensive as far back as 2019 that novel election practices would taint the vote.
“They used COVID fear to justify lawlessness and within that lawlessness they created a system where we can’t have faith,” Kline said. “Now we’re proving that all the flaws had a direct impact on results.”
Many Kansans remember Kline as a polarizing political figure whether serving as a Republican state representative, state attorney general or Johnson County district attorney.
Kline’s desire to investigate and prosecute Kansas abortion providers was so fervent that he was found by a state disciplinary panel to have engaged in a pattern of unethical conduct, including presenting false testimony and illegally acquiring medical records of women planning abortions.
In the end, the Kansas Supreme Court determined there was “clear and convincing evidence” to require indefinite suspension of Kline’s law license in 2013.
Here is what the state Supreme Court said: “Ultimately, we unanimously conclude the weight of the aggravating factors — i.e., Kline’s inability or refusal to acknowledge the line between overzealous advocacy and operating within the bounds of the law and his professional obligations; his selfish motives; and his lengthy and substantial pattern of misconduct — weigh more heavily than the mitigating factors and merit his indefinite suspension.”
Kline’s attempts in federal court to reverse the state decision failed, including a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his case.
In his day job, Kline was rendered an academic oddity — a University of Kansas law school graduate stripped of legal certification yet employed as an associate professor of law at Liberty University, the evangelical college in Lynchburg, Virginia.
In the Trump legal showdown against Biden, Kline’s challenge has been to work the courts in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada to convince judges there was legitimacy to claims mass quantities of votes were fraudulently cast and counted. The idea is to assert a brazen level of cheating, he said, capable of eventually flipping the election. His high-stakes campaign has been hampered by lack of persuasive evidence of widespread irregularity.
It’s not clear Kline expects to win in the lower courts, because the former Kansas prosecutor has declared the ultimate goal was to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Any decision altering outcome of the presidential election — the Electoral College tally has Biden at 306 and Trump at 232 — must come from the nation’s highest court, Kline said.
Kline’s political assignment gives him freedom to repeatedly denounce Facebook co-founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $400 million to provide nonpartisan support to local election offices preparing for Nov. 3.
The grant money through the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life for acquisition of personal protective equipment at urban, rural and suburban polling sites, assist with drive-thru voting locations, purchase equipment to process ballots and other steps to assist election officials conduct the election during a pandemic.
Kline described Zuckerberg’s cash infusion as an “insidious, coordinated and stealth campaign to manipulate this year’s elections.”
‘Should not stand’
An Amistad Project research study, Kline said, showed the center’s 20 largest publicly identified donations went to areas Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016. In addition, Kline asserted Zuckerburg’s financial leverage was a source of compensation for election judges and officials inside ballot counting rooms who were empowered to exclude GOP observers.
Kline told commentator Lou Dobb on Fox Business Network that swing states had hundreds of thousands of suspect votes. He said tens of thousands of valid ballots were spoiled by anti-Trump conspirators.
“That can’t stand and should not stand,” Kline said. “They wanted to infuse fraudulent ballots. And, they did it.”
On the conservative news and opinion website Newsmax, he claimed the center financed by Zuckerburg instructed Philadelphia election officials they could obtain grant funding by agreeing to provide a certain number of polling places and abiding by staffing guidance.
Kline took to social media Monday to declare nothing in Wisconsin state law allowed cities and counties to take millions of dollars from an “incredibly wealthy, interested and partisan actor (i.e., Zuckerberg) in order to ‘assist’ those cities and counties in administering the vote.” He said voting discrepancies in Wisconsin resulted from election officials’ willful violation of law.
Zuckerburg dollars flowing into Georgia, Kline said on Twitter, were used to pay ballot harvesters, compensate political activists managing ballots and consolidate counting centers to facilitate movement of ballots.
Kline also said Amistad Project’s consultant who developed data analysis of the election to support lawsuits was contacted by the FBI regarding his findings. “He is cooperating and we fully support him,” Kline said.
Tim Carpenter is a reporter for the Kansas Reflector, which first published this story.