“Classic GOP hypocrisy”: Mark Meadows’ wife may have committed voter fraud too
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is already under investigation for possible voter fraud, and now it appears that his wife Debbie also filed three false voter forms in the 2020 election, according to the Washington Post.
North Carolina officials are currently investigating Mark Meadows on potential fraud charges. The New Yorker reported that Donald Trump’s former top aide was registered to vote at a mobile home in a remote rural area where he never appears to have lived or even visited, at the same time he was spreading and supporting Trump’s false claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election
The North Carolina attorney general’s office said that the State Bureau of Investigation and the State Board of Elections are investigating the matter after Macon County District Attorney Ashley Welch, a former Meadows ally, referred the case to the state for “potential prosecution.”
The attorney general’s statement did not mention Debbie Meadows, who appears to have used the address of the Scaly Mountain home on three different voter forms. She listed that as her home address on a one-stop voter application to cast an early ballot in the 2020 presidential election in Franklin, North Carolina, according to documents provided by the North Carolina Board of Elections to the Washington Post. The form requires voters to certify that they have lived at their address for at least 30 days and warns that “fraudulently or falsely completing this form” is a Class 1 felony.
RELATED: “GOP finally found some voter fraud”: Mark Meadows registered to vote at an N.C. “dive trailer”
Debbie Meadows also dropped off an absentee ballot that she had requested for her husband, an election board official told the outlet. In all, she signed three forms that warned of legal consequences for providing false information: the one-stop application, the absentee ballot request for her husband and the voter registration form previously reported by The New Yorker.
State investigators declined to say whether their probe of Meadows would also include his wife.
“We are early into the investigation,” Anjanette Grube, a spokesperson for the State Bureau of Investigation, told the Post. “As the investigation continues, information will be shared with the prosecutor who will make a determination as to whether any additional persons could be subject to the investigation.”
The voter registration form requires voters to enter the residential address “where you physically live” under “penalty of perjury.” The Meadowses entered the address of the Scaly Mountain home where, according to what its former owner told the New Yorker, Debbie Meadows had only stayed for a night or two and Mark Meadows had never stayed at all.
Melanie Thibault, the director of Macon County’s Board of Elections, told the New Yorker she had been “dumbfounded” to learn what address the Meadowses used after selling their North Carolina home when Meadows was tapped to serve in the White House.
“I looked up this Mcconnell Road, which is in Scaly Mountain, and I found out that it was a dive trailer in the middle of nowhere, which I do not see him or his wife staying in,” she said.
North Carolina law requires voters to have lived in a county where they register for at least 30 days before the election. Both of the Meadowses’ voter registration forms were filed on Sept. 19, 2020, but listed their move-in date as the following day, Sept. 20. (That in itself would be a violation, although one unlikely to be pursued or prosecuted.) The Meadowses also listed a post office box in a town about 70 miles away from the mobile home as their mailing address, according to the Post.
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
In March 2020, Meadows sold his home in Sapphire, North Carolina, and moved to a condo the couple owns in northern Virginia, where they are both also registered to vote. Debbie Meadows, however, apparently used the Sapphire address to vote in a June primary runoff election. Gerry Cohen, a North Carolina elections official, told the Post that until this year the state allowed anyone who had voted in an initial primary election to cast a ballot in the runoff without updating their registration.
Debbie Meadows later requested that her husband’s absentee ballot be sent to their Virginia address, and then traveled to Macon County, North Carolina, to cast both their 2020 general election ballots on Oct. 26. At the one-stop early voting location, Debbie Meadows signed a declaration that she had lived at least 30 days in the county.
Debbie Meadows is the founder and executive director of the Right Women PAC, which financially backs “solidly conservative women” in House races, including far-right Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. She played a key role in her husband’s early relationship with Trump, backing the former president after the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape where Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, according to the Washington Post.
“Is it offensive? Yes. Can we forgive it? Yes!” she said during a 2016 campaign event before attacking Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton. “How can she be so offended by his nasty talk, his lewd talk, when she bullied, silenced and intimidated women who had been abused by her husband?”
After leaving the White House, Mark Meadows joined the Conservative Partnership Institute, a Washington nonprofit that seeks to move the Republican Party even further to the right. Trump’s Save America PAC donated $1 million to the group shortly after the House launched its investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which Meadows then refused to cooperate with. The couple later bought a 6,000-square-foot home in South Carolina for nearly $1.6 million, although North Carolina officials told the New Yorker they are still registered to vote at the Scaly Mountain address.
Meadows played a key role in helping Trump spread falsehoods about the election, claiming in a 2020 interview that mail voting was rife with fraud.
“What we do know is a number of times as we have mail-in ballots, if there is not a chain of custody that goes from the voter to the ballot box, mischief can happen,” he told ABC News at the time.
These repeated false claims of mail ballot fraud, when paired with the Meadowses’ dubious voter-registration history, amounts to “classic GOP hypocrisy,” charged the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group.
“As Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows accused mail-in ballots of being a haven for fraud,” the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Twitter. “It appears that he may have been talking about his wife’s ballots.”