A representation from the Republican Association of Attorneys General, a national group representing top law enforcement officials in their states, sent slave calls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the day before the building was stormed by a pro-Trump mob.
“At 1 p.m., we will head to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the theft,” said the voice of the recording, received from NBC News.
Calls that do not promote violence or suggest that the building should be damaged were sent by the Rule of Law Fund, a fundraising association of the Republican Association of Advocates General. The groups share funding, staff and office space in Washington
In a statement to NBC News, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who manages the fund, said the calls were sent without his knowledge.
“I was not aware of any unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff regarding this week̵
“Although he has now taken on the role of newly elected chairman of the RLDF, it is unacceptable that I have neither been consulted on these decisions nor informed of them. I have led an internal review on this issue. “
A website set up to promote the rally leading up to the Capitol invasion lists the Rule of Law Fund as one of the participating organizations. The site has since been downloaded.
Adam Piper, executive director of the Republican General Association of Prosecutors, and Peter Bisbee, executive director of the fundraising arm, did not respond to requests for comment on the robo calls first reported by the Documented Monitoring Group.
A spokesman for Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, chairman of the Republican Association of Attorneys General, said he “had no knowledge or involvement in the decision.”
“Attorney General Carr is working hard to find out how this situation arose and to ensure that it does not happen again,” said spokeswoman Katie Bird.
“The position of the protesters was not in line with the position of Chief Prosecutor Carr regarding the election. And as he said from moments after seeing the news, the violence and destruction we saw in the US Capitol is unacceptable and un-American. “
The Republican Attorneys Association raised more than $ 18 million in 2020 from several leading corporations, including Pepsi, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and Comcast, the parent company of NBC News. His supporters include interest groups such as the NRA and the US Chamber of Commerce, which was its largest donor in 2020 with a contribution of $ 750,000.
Many companies that donated to the Republican Association of Advocates General also gave the equivalent of the Democratic Party. Several told NBC News that spending money on this type of recruitment to protest was contrary to the purpose of their donation.
Asked for comment, the Chamber of Commerce issued a statement to Harold Kim, president of the Institute for Legal Reform of the US Chamber of Commerce.
“We are appalled by the invasion of the capital on Wednesday and have not supported any efforts by the Rule of Law Fund,” he said. “We do not support such activities now and we will not do so in the future.”
A Microsoft spokesman said: “We condemn the actions taken by RLDF and express our concerns directly to RAGA. Earlier this week, we spoke with other people in the business community about the violence unfolding in the US Capitol. “
A spokesman for JP Morgan said her political action committee had donated $ 25,000 to the general group of lawyers and none of them had gone to the Rule of Law Fund.
“Our contribution to the PAC for both Republican and Democratic Advocates General has been used strictly for the purposes of the Advocates General’s campaign,” the spokesman said.
Cherokee Nation LLC, which donated $ 150,000 in 2020, said it had requested an immediate resumption of its sponsorship of the Republican Attorneys General’s Association and the organization was committed.
“We didn’t know about RAGA’s connection to the Rule of Law Fund or any connection to the January 6 Capitol rebel storm in the United States,” said spokesman Brandon Scott.
“Cherokee national business disapproves of these actions and strongly condemns the rebels and all those who incited the destruction of the federal government with their words and actions.”
Melaleuca, an online wellness shopping store, gave $ 290,000 to the Republican Bar Association in 2020.
“We are appalled by the events that ended with the storming of the US Capitol,” the company said in a statement. “We have never contributed to the Rule of Law Fund. RAGA assured us that none of our contributions to RAGA were made to the Rule of Law Fund. “
Pepsi, NRA and Comcast did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the Republican Association of Attorneys General did not address the robotic conversation, but tried to distance the organization from the event.
“The Republican Association of Attorneys General and the Rule of Law Fund did not participate in the planning, sponsorship or organization of Wednesday’s event,” the spokesman said.
“No Republican AG has allowed the staff’s decision to amplify a colleague who speaks at the event. Organizationally and individually, we strongly condemn and disavow the events that took place. “
One of its members, Texas Attorney Ken Paxton, attended the rally and spoke to the crowd, saying, “We will not stop fighting.”
After the Capitol invasion, he tweeted: “Today I am very disappointed with the certification of the election, but I do not believe that violence is the answer.”
Paxton’s office did not respond to a request for comment.