Lincoln Project Lobs Attacks Against Jones Day, Porter Wright

Law360 (November 10, 2020, 11:40 PM EST) -- Lincoln Project, a well-known anti-Trump, Republican political action committee, has launched social media campaigns targeting the lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, condemning them for their roles in abetting President Donald Trump's legal battles to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

The Lincoln Project started its campaign with a series of tweets on Tuesday, accusing the two firms of "architecting" Trump's "unwarranted and dangerous attacks" that threaten American democracy. These tweets also encourage the firm's employees to "resign in protest" and prompt the followers to create LinkedIn accounts and harass the firms' attorneys.

In one tweet, The Lincoln Project even posted the contact information of two Porter Wright attorneys who are helping the Trump campaign challenge election results in Pennsylvania. That tweet has been deleted for violating Twitter rules on abusive behavior, according to a Twitter spokesperson. The Lincoln Project was also reportedly locked out of accessing its Twitter account on Tuesday over sharing the contact information, the spokesperson confirmed.

"Exposing frivolous lawsuits threatening to undermine our democracy falls well within our mission to eradicate Trumpism in this country," The Lincoln Project said in a statement to Law360. "To fight an overwhelming Biden victory at this point is a desperate move by a desperate man. Law firms should be ashamed to work for a client as unhinged, damaged, and petty as Donald Trump. If they aren't yet, we intend to continue to turn up the heat until that changes."

Attorneys from Porter Wright are representing the Trump campaign in several election-related lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania, while Jones Day has long been the go-to law firm for Republican officials. Jones Day partner John M. Gore and several of its attorneys have been involved in lawsuits on behalf of the Trump campaign and other Republican organizations over the past year.

In a statement released Tuesday, Jones Day said it was not representing Trump, his campaign or any affiliated party, in litigation alleging voter fraud.

"Jones Day also is not representing any entity in any litigation challenging or contesting the results of the 2020 general election," the statement added. "Media reports to the contrary are false."

The firm noted in the statement that it is representing the Pennsylvania GOP in a U.S. Supreme Court case over Pennsylvania's extended mail-in ballot deadline, and will not withdraw from that representation, noting the case brings up an "important and recurring rule of law question" that is of interest for several states.

Porter Wright declined to comment on Tuesday. 

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, the organization's co-founder and GOP strategist Rick Wilson revealed that they set aside around half a million dollars to campaign against the law firms for representing Trump and the GOP in their voter fraud pursuit.

The PAC was founded by Wachtell attorney George Conway, John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich adviser John Weaver, former New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn, and Wilson.

Since January, it has been running television and digital ads targeting Trump and his supporters. As of November, it had spent more than $47 million on the 2020 Federal Election, according to accountability organization Open Secrets.

Yet that is only a tiny fraction of the millions of expenditures from Trump's campaign. Just legal fees alone, Trump's campaign has spent more money on this election season than any other presidential candidate ever, according to Law360 analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

In 2019 and 2020, Trump shelled out $12.95 million in legal bills. Among the recipients, Jones Day had taken in the most at $4.6 million in legal fees.

However, its attorneys and staff donated far less to Trump than to Biden's campaign. Law360 only identified about $9,000 in individual contributions from Jones Day attorneys and staff to the Trump campaign. By contrast, Jones Day employees poured nearly $250,000 into Biden's campaign, reflecting similar contribution trends by members of the firm seen in the 2016 race. A Jones Day partner, Shirlethia Franklin, was also named on Tuesday as a member of President-elect Joe Biden's transition team.

Columbus, Ohio-based Porter Wright, meanwhile, has collected $584K in legal fees from the Trump campaign since the beginning of 2019. Several of the firm's attorneys have been involved in election-related litigation in Pennsylvania.

--Additional reporting by Aebra Coe, Matthew Santoni and Ryan Boysen. Editing by Jay Jackson Jr.

Update: This story has been updated with a comment from The Lincoln Project.

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