Ye's 2020 Campaign Was 'Secretly' Run by GOP 'Operatives' as a Spoiler for Biden, Report Claims

© AP Photo / Michael WykeIn this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, Kanye West appears on stage during a service at Lakewood Church in Houston.
In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, Kanye West appears on stage during a service at Lakewood Church in Houston. - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.12.2021
West, who was a vocal supporter of former President Trump, announced his own independent presidential campaign on July 4 last year. The rapper ran as a candidate for the "Birthday Party," but failed to submit docs by the deadlines in many states and, in the end, received just 0.32% of all the votes.
Kanye West's personal White House race has concealed potentially millions of dollars in services from a secretive network of Republican Party operatives, including elite GOP advisers and a managing partner at one of the country's top conservative political firms, The Daily Beast reported on Friday.
According to the report, citing court records and West's campaign Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, the rapper's 2020 campaign committee did not acknowledge paying some of these advisers and used an unusual abbreviation for another.
Campaign finance experts told the outlet that such moves indicate that those who ran his campaign tried to hide their ties to known GOP operatives, and that could be illegal, if proven.
Holtzman Vogel, one of the most influential law firms servicing major Republican political and nonprofit groups, reportedly was at the center of Kanye's political operation.
And, while unclear if known to West, as the outlet stressed, Republican operatives were involved in his campaign, allegedly seeking to re-elect then-President Donald Trump instead of the rapper.
 Rapper Kanye West makes a point as he holds his first rally in support of his presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. July 19, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.09.2020
‘More Money than Trump’: Kanye West Slams Rumors GOP Funding His Presidency Run as ‘Distraction’
According to federal records analyzed by The Daily Beast, the campaign hired a variety of law companies with ties to Trump and the GOP, including those who helped Trump defend and push forward his claims of mass irregularities during the vote and more than a half-dozen law firms that went on to file election fraud lawsuits on Trump's or the party's behalf.
And Holtzman Vogel reportedly played a crucial part in those efforts. In late September, they defended Trump in a Pennsylvania lawsuit while also advising the West presidential campaign, including Pennsylvania ballot strategy at one point.
According to the vice president of government watchdog Common Cause, Paul S. Ryan, the importance of the revelation "can’t be overstated."

"It’s no secret that Kanye West’s candidacy would have a spoiler effect, siphoning votes from Democrat Joe Biden. Voters had a right to know that a high-powered Republican lawyer was providing legal services to Kanye—and federal law requires disclosure of such legal work," Ryan is quoted in the report as saying.

Furthermore, when the former "Birthday Party" candidate's campaign launched an election fraud lawsuit in early December, it reportedly paid about $60,000 to one of those firms, Minnesota-based Mohrman Kaardal.
The complaint was eventually dismissed. That group also collaborated with the Amistad Project, a subsidiary of the Thomas More Society, which employed Trump attorney and Rudy Giuliani protégé Jenna Ellis. And the papers supposedly reveal that Kanye 2020 hired the firm just days after the Amistad Project launched in August.
The outlet admitted that the essence of the connections described in the report seems very complicated with its lack of transparency in operations and thus does not contain any direct indications of a law violation by Kanye's campaign.

Professional Expertise 'Enough to Raise a Red Flag or Two'

Hundreds of campaign contacts were analyzed in court records, as well as Kanye 2020's FEC filings, by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, which received the data from The Daily Beast.
And despite Holtzman Vogel's expert counsel, communications director Jordan Libowitz found that the campaign bookkeeping was a "disaster," and the documents are "enough to raise an eyebrow and a red flag or two."
"This was absolutely amateur hour. And his campaign paid a lot of money for those results," he said. "It’s very clear that the whole point behind Kanye’s campaign was to try to re-elect Donald Trump. Whether that was a goal of Kanye is another issue. But he was clearly seen as a way to steal potential votes from Biden."
And this feeling was reportedly shared by some of the people allegedly tied to Kanye's campaign.
Some claimed that messaging decisions had to go via covert political "hands" before being released. Others said they were approached by well-known Republican political operators, though they all declined to provide names when asked.
The outlet also pointed to West's seemingly good relationship with key Trump advisor Jared Kushner, who met with the rapper at his Wyoming ranch just before his campaign launch, sparking speculation that the campaigns were working together.

GOP Powerbroker Avoids Association With Campaign

As an interesting twist in the rapper's short-term political campaign, Jill Vogel, a sitting GOP Virginia state senator and veteran political operative who is a managing partner at Holtzman Vogel, and is considered to be a heavyweight in the world of conservative politics and so-called dark money groups, reportedly was heavily involved.
The outlet claims that some of the evidence indicating the involvement and showing the inner processes of the campaign was provided in multiple emails and text messages in a lawsuit filed in Texas state court this spring by a former campaign subvendor.
The case was then transferred to the Western District of Texas, where it was reportedly dismissed on November 30 due to a lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiffs remain optimistic and a fresh case in a new court will likely be launched soon, according to the outlet's sources.
The filings reportedly show that Vogel had been advising the campaign on legal and compliance issues since at least August 2020. The topics included everything from website wording and disclaimers to fundraising tips and ballot access rules.

"It's also likely that she did not want people to know that a Republican operative was behind his campaign," Libowitz said, adding that Vogel may have wanted to keep her name off of internal documents to avoid "any embarrassment that may come with being publicly affiliated with the trainwreck that was the Kanye campaign."

Despite the purported evidence reflecting Vogel's campaign work, Kanye 2020's FEC filings show no payments to her or her firm, according to the report, nor were some of the biggest Washington, DC, lobbying groups allegedly tied to the campaign since its start mentioned.
But Vogel reportedly associated herself directly with the campaign in emails contained in court documents, and other campaign vendors refer to her as the "campaign lawyer" in texts and emails.
All in all, as Common Cause's Ryan noted, "if Holtzman Vogel’s legal services extended beyond compliance with federal campaign finance law to other matters, then the value of those services would constitute a potentially-illegal contribution to Kanye’s campaign."
In light of this, one of Vogel's emails reportedly included a discussion of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire ballot rules, which does not appear to be tied in any way to FEC compliance.
"There are several red flags here that warrant FEC scrutiny," Ryan concluded.
Music manager John Boyd, an acquaintance of West, who was reportedly paid $25,000 by the campaign for "political strategy consulting," told the outlet that he was sure that no one, Republican or Democrat, ever tried to sway the independent candidate.
He did confess, however, that his campaign was unorganized and that West was never in complete charge of his own activities.
"He had companies, individuals working for him, I don’t even know if he knew what they were doing that deeply. That’s my personal view," Boyd said. "There were definitely agendas out there that perhaps he didn’t have full control over."
Rapper Kanye West wears a Make America Great again hat during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct. 11, 2018. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.12.2021
Kanye West's Publicist Pressured Georgia Election Worker After Trump Accused Her of Fraud - Reports
The Daily Beast's explicit report follows several others scrutinizing the inner workings of the 44-year-old rapper's failed presidential race. In particular, Reuters reported earlier this month that West's alleged publicist tried to put pressure on an election worker in Georgia to plead guilty to electoral violations conducted in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.
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