Ron Johnson embroiled in controversy over staff handing Pence fake electors..

Source: The Hill | June 23, 2022 | Alexander Bolton

Ron Johnson embroiled in controversy over staff handing Pence fake electors list

Conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who faces a tough reelection race this year, finds himself embroiled in new controversy after the House Jan. 6 select committee revealed Tuesday that his staff attempted to hand a list of fake electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Johnson is facing tough questions about how much he knew of his staff’s effort to get Pence to recognize an alternate set of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin, two critical states that helped President Biden win the 2020 election.

Johnson on Wednesday declined to say whether he authorized his aide Sean Riley to hand the list of electors to Pence on Jan. 6, 2021, or whether he knew beforehand what his aide planned to do. He also declined to say whether he knew the contents of the envelope that was to be given to Pence’s staff.

“This happened so fast, this is 18 months ago. This just happened, we took care of it. End of story. There’s nothing else to say about this,” he said when asked what he knew of the transaction.

“There’s nothing else to say about this,” he said, accusing reporters who asked him for more details of “carrying water for the Democrat Party.”

Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Johnson, issued a statement Tuesday claiming that Johnson “had no foreknowledge” that the fake slate of electors was going to be delivered to his office and generally minimized his involvement in the attempted transaction.

“The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office. This was a staff-to-staff exchange. His new Chief of Staff contacted the Vice President’s office,” Henning tweeted.

But Johnson told reporters Tuesday afternoon he “was basically unaware of it.”

“My chief of staff contacted the vice president’s staff and said, ‘Do you want this?’ They said ‘no’ and we didn’t deliver it and that’s the end of story,” he said.

Johnson said “somebody delivered” the envelope to his office and asked that his staff deliver it to the vice president. The senator declined to say who reached out to his office.

Asked Tuesday afternoon whether he supported the effort to get the slate of electors to Pence, Johnson said “I had no knowledge of this.”

“I had no idea this was even going to be delivered to us. It got delivered staff to staff. My chief of staff did the right thing, contacted the vice president’s staff. They said they didn’t want it, so we didn’t deliver it,” he said.

But even fellow Republicans find it hard to believe that Johnson’s aide would be bold enough to give a fake slate of electors to Pence in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden’s victory without alerting his boss in advance.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Wednesday said he wants to know more about who was involved in the effort to get Pence to throw out the duly elected electors for Michigan and Wisconsin.

“My initial reaction was one of shock. Then Sen. Johnson said he was unaware of it. I and others like myself would like to dig into that, find out just who knew what and when. Obviously an attempt at a false slate of electors would strike at the heart of our democracy,” he said.


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