Securing Our Future with Conservative Attorney Harmeet Dhillon
Doug speaks with Harmeet Dhillon, election integrity expert about what we can do to secure our future.
Doug Truax: Welcome to the First Right podcast, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm Doug Truax, founder and president of Restoration of America. Today we are blessed to have as our guest Harmeet Dhillon, one of the most recognizable and effective conservative lawyers in America. Harmeet is in the middle of nearly all hot button issues right now, Civil liberties, big tech, election integrity, and politics. It's our pleasure to get her perspective today. Welcome to the show, Harmeet.
Harmeet Dhillon: My pleasure to be here.
Doug Truax: So we've all had plenty of time now to take in what happened in 2020, the election, and you know, all the covid stuff and everything that happened. And I just want to get your assessment of how you feel about the people in power, what they might have done to twist the rules in their favor because of Covid.
Harmeet Dhillon: Well, I think one of the biggest things that we saw during Covid that was fairly new to the election law world was the use of both the courts as well as collusive settlement agreements with attorneys general or secretaries of state to rapidly change election laws for the worst. So for example, this happened in Minnesota, a liberal group, Mark Elias or some other group would sue, and then the Secretary of State or the Attorney General would either enter into a settlement agreement to waive or expand election laws that provide integrity protections. Or in the case of Pennsylvania, the ca the Pennsylvania Supreme Court basically concocted new rules that were not passed by the legislature and are not part of Pennsylvania law to allow liberal absentee balloting and so forth. So all of these things were a one way ratchet, if you will. Now, in some cases, like in Minnesota, the court stepped in and said, this is entirely impermissible and it's a violation of the Constitutional elections clause. But in other cases, like in Pennsylvania, these loosening of rules we're allowed to stand and I believe change the outcome of the election in certain states. And so that's what we've been dealing with. And of course you might think covid is a one time deal, but if covid were successfully deployed to allow a handful of well funded special interest groups through the courts or otherwise to rapidly change our laws, you can imagine that this tactic will be used again. So that's really what we election lawyers have been gearing after, try to fight and prevent.
Doug Truax: Yeah, that was leading into my next question, but I want to make a quick comment. And you first brought this to my attention a while back. It's such a sneaky trick when a democrat lawyer sues a Democrat politician and the politician says, Oh, I gotta just give this lawyer this thing a settlement. And, and lo and behold, they get what they want. And I'm glad, I'm glad you're watching all this like a hawk as we know you are. And, and that's really what I want to ask you next. And so what's your assessment of where we are going into this election? We've had time now, and what have Republicans been doing and and how does it shake out compared to what we went through last time? What, what, what's, what do you see coming?
Harmeet Dhillon: Well, what I see coming is it was a big wake up, if you will, to Republicans to see how really a combination of a small number of lawyers and activists and a lot of money managed to flood our courts with this type of litigation. And, and on the Republican side, to be frank, in prior election cycles, they weren't well prepared for that either monetarily or even with the lawyers staffed up to be able to do it. And sort of a early warning system to look out for these lawsuits to look out for sneaky legislation passing its way through the legislative system. Today, I would say we were in a much better position than that on a number of fronts. First of all, just in the nuts and bolts of election administration, Republicans are very alert to those issues and now checking in more regularly with election officials, well before elections and going to court more quickly when we see problems.
But also just in the nuts and bolts of winning elections, lawyers are an important ingredient and in many prior election cycles, Republicans have relied on lawyers like me to sort of quit their day job for two weeks or four weeks and do do this work for free political consultants don't do the work for free. The people who print the signs don't do the work for free. Campaign consultants don't do the work for free. But lawyers were expected to do that, and as a result, you weren't exactly getting necessarily either the volume or the quality of lawyers that you needed. And that dynamic has changed both the combination of party waking up and spending more money on these issues, the Senate and the congressional committees, but also importantly conservative donors stepping up and realizing that just like the left has been financing election litigation for some time in large numbers, we need to match that dollar for dollar or even outspend them in order to protect our elections.
Doug Truax: Yeah, I'm, I'm so glad to hear you say that. And I'm in the same place. I think we were a little late to this party. They were, they got way out in front of us. We kind of year over year, Oh, maybe there's some fraud, some cheating, but we just need to beat 'em by enough. It'll be fine. And, and just kind of quickly move on to the next election. But there was really no moving on after the last when everybody stopped for a second and said, Okay, what, what have we got to do? And, and you were been on the forefront of that, so I really appreciate that. So, so we've made progress, but what would you say in your opinion, is now the most widespread objectionable thing out there when it comes to election fraud that's still kind of baked in the cake out there?
Harmeet Dhillon: Well, I, I have a, some different views about this. There's, there's two issues. Number one, from the White House to the national news media, there has been a concerted effort to label anybody who talks about election irregularities or fraud using shorthand as, as you know, some kind of de you know, reality denier or criminal, when in fact it is entirely factual to point out that in multiple states, particularly the battleground states, there were election irregularities including, and I would include changes of laws that violate the constitution that affected the outcome of the election. You know, ballot harvesting where it's not legal affects the outcome of an election. Absentee balloting where it's not legal, refusing to allow observers in Philadelphia or Detroit to see how ballots are being counted, not only may affect the outcome, but more importantly undermines confidence of Americans in the outcome of an election, which is equally important because a lack of confidence means people don't vote.
I'm concerned about that and I'm frankly concerned that with both misinformation on the Republican side as well as information on the conservative side, you have a lot of people who are disenchanted with our election system and they're being disenfranchised by, I would say first Amendment violations by threats by our government to try to shut people down for their speech. That is going on, and I'll talk about that more in a minute. But I think the other sort of systemic thing that I think is really affecting the outcome of elections is outside spending. Now the shorthand for that in the 2020 elections is, is zucker bucks a single wealthy donor through a pair of foundations. Mark Zuckerberg poured over $400 million into election administration, again, focused on not just battleground states but democrat counties. And the idea was to make sure that more ballots were being returned than they would have been only in liberal areas to ju the overall statewide vote.
Now, some states have taken action to pass laws to prevent this, but it's a system of whackamole really. And what we have replaced that with is the Biden administration has made vague pronouncements about how they're gonna be given grants to nonprofits to help combat election disinformation and provide information about elections. That's Orwellian speak for, doing the same thing with federal tax dollars. But they refused to respond in a timely manner to do public records act requests and tell us exactly who's getting that money, what is the process for applying for those funds, how that money is being spent. So that's going to be probably mired in some litigation for some time. But look, it's perfectly legitimate for groups to provide information. But what we are talking about in that election, and I don't know what's gonna happen in the 2022 election, included third party subsidized election workers opening up ballots and tabulating them and and chasing ballots and getting them returned.
This is all illegitimate and outside our election system. So I think that's a huge problem that we have to deal with. And another problem we had, but now we're overcoming is, is the apathy. And I think that the situation in our country right now economically and politically is, is unrecognizable for many of us. I, I find it hard to believe that we're in a situation right now where we are, but I think that is causing a lot of people to wake up and see. You may not like or love every a hundred percent about a candidate, but this is a zero sum game. And so, you know, I think a combination of those factors means we have more enthusiasm on the conservative side at this point in time than we have in the past combined with resources. And so, but back to the issue I mentioned before about the free speech issue.
I think it is absolutely chilling that the government has paid outside vendors to identify so-called election misinformation speech, and then gotten American citizens banned from the public square, from Twitter, from Instagram, from Facebook for speaking on election law issues. I have a long running lawsuit for a conservative activist lawyer named Brogan O'Hanley who posted accurate questions about election integrity and how the election was running California and also about whether Joe Biden got the most votes in history with a question mark and he was removed from social media and had, you know, millions of followers. So we now know that it wasn't just California doing this and John Solomon is the middle of some ongoing reporting about this that's being developed as we speak. But the government has drawn up through outside vendors lists of so-called misinformation spreaders. I'm on that list in the top 20 I think on that list.
Basically anybody with a prominent voice who retweeted or shared information about concerns about the election in multiple states, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, they're being labeled as misinformation spreaders. This is a form of social credit like you have in China where you are labeled and your freedoms are curtailed on the basis of your views or your speech. This is incredibly dangerous, setting aside the election issue, this lens is being applied to issues like vaccines and covid and other issues. And so I think this is really one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. It's critical to elections, but it's critical to other issues
Doug Truax: As well. Yeah, and I'm, I'm so thankful for lawyers like you that are brave. In my line of work, I come across a lot of lawyers and too many of 'em are weak in my opinion, because people, what's happening is just what you said, they're labeling people or they'll put this label on this law over here. If you do this this way, then you know we're gonna call that criminal when it's not at all. It's just that they're saying and they need people like you to come alongside of them and push back as hard as they possibly can. Otherwise, people do get to that place of saying, Well, you know what, I'm gonna kind of play along and I'm not gonna say anything about all this irregularity and you know, all these things that have happened. I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut cuz that's all they really want you to do.
And you know, you said something a second about the whackamole piece and, and, and that's what I felt like when we've gone through this process over the last couple years is everywhere you look, there's some other thing that might be brewing and some other way to do it. And you know, they're tacked is to just, if they can do it and then get through the election, then they're on the other side of it and all they gotta do is call you a denier and then you're in trouble. Right. So that's, it's like a, it's like a broader strategy. So, you know, I I would like to, you know, you, you also said the, the confidence piece in the elections, you know, expound upon that a little bit. I we're in a place now where, like you said, both sides, you know, and obviously the conservative side this time is like, wow, that last election, there's a lot wrong with that. So what do you see coming down the road for the confidence that we either, you know, we, we need to have, but we don't have, It's such an important piece. How do you, how do you see it playing out over the next probably decade? Cuz it is this kinda whackamole concept in terms of just trying to keep up with what's coming next. How do you see that playing out?
Harmeet Dhillon: Excuse me. So this has been a problem brewing for many years and it's going to take many years to fix the problem. But one problem I've complained about a lot, and I've been active not just as a lawyer in the courts but also in politics, I, I sit on the Republican National Committee, is that both donors as well as sort of party activists and consultants have been really, really focused on the big money races. President, Senate, Congress, maybe governor and virtually no attention has been placed on very important but less sexy, if you will, races including attorney general, secretary of state, and even lower level county election officials where those are elected or appointed. And really that's where the laws are made, that's where the outcomes are crafted. That's where, for example, if you don't have judges to rule on election contests or whether the poll should stay open for two hours longer in a place, or what happens if there's a disaster, if you don't have good judges who will rule fairly, or if you don't have good election officials who will be non corrupt in their motive and will be honest with the people about what's going on and how the ballots are being counted, you, you have a real recipe for disaster.
This is entirely avoidable. You know, George Soros gets a lot of attention, rightfully so with relatively low dollars. He's managed to affect district attorney races in major American cities, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and and others. And, and for, for a relatively low investment conservatives could have changed the outcome of those races. I I hope people are awake to that issue now. And I mean, it, it becomes as basic as getting parents to run for school board, School board is often the training ground for people to run for higher office and ultimately become the senator, the governor and be the person who can affect those laws. And so I think that's very important. I think giving conservatives the backbone and not allowing ourselves to be bullied into silence over saying no, that election was irregular. It was irregular for Wisconsin to allow people to have absentee ballots returned even though they did not have a cause as defined in statute or it was illegal for ballot harvesting to occur in Georgia or it was illegal for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in general to both change the laws regarding ballot absentee balloting as well as not allow observers.
That not allowing observers thing is such a critical issue. And so I think sunlight is the best disinfectant for the process and I think we need to regain the confidence of voters in our system overall, regardless of the actual outcomes people need to be signing up to be election workers, poll workers, not just observers, but actually taking that minimum wage job to greet people and, and all of that. And even that's going by the wayside with so much vote by mail. In some states, like my state, California covid was used to effectively convert everybody into vote by mail and until, and unless we get back control of the state legislature, that's going to be a difficult thing to change. But in other states people could take notice and change that. And so I would finally add, don't ignore judicial races. Well fought improvements in election laws in some states are being overturned by politicized courts in those states. And that doesn't have to be the case. That could have gone the other way if we'd invested in judicial races as well.
Doug Truax: Yeah, that's a great point about fighting for everything all the time. You never know where it's gonna be. And I, I've been so surprised too about the impact that, you know, in a state one county, if they have all the right people in place and they're willing to do all what they need to do, they can start to control things and finesse it, which then creates this, you know, whether they threw it or not, it creates the illusion or the impression I should say, that something went wrong in that county. And so I think the Democrats by and large are onto this concept that, all right, we have, we have control in certain counties, let's really focus in there and you're right, we gotta, we gotta win all those elections up and down no matter what. And the judicial races for sure. Cuz that's, that's obviously if they can't win at the ballot box, they're gonna try to take us to take it to the courts and get it done that way. So That's right. So what do you see taking off all your lawyer hat and everything, just talk pure politics. What do you see coming up with the elections? How are you feeling about it?
Harmeet Dhillon: Well, this is gonna sound like a cop out, but in the closest races I think it's really too close to call. But the, you know, like for example, you would look at events that happen in Georgia over the last couple of days. And I think it's very easy to get distracted by hype from the fact that every election is a zero sum game and you know, whatever flaws our candidates may have or you know, we may or may not love them enthusiastically. Yeah. You gotta compare them to the other guy. And so I think it's just really critical that using that focus, we turn out the vote, but the economy is terrible. And of course now I live in San Francisco, which is the worst of the worst, but even in other states, every American going to fill up their gas tanks or seeing their grocery bill double you, you cannot avoid that. And so it's just gonna be critical to just avoid the noise, avoid the distractions, and keep hammering on our messages of where you better off two years ago than you are now and, and, and focusing on winning back the midterm so that we can block the Biden agenda and we can advance our agenda and then set up 2024. Absolutely. I don't think this country will survive another couple of years like the last two we've had. Absolutely. It's a nightmare, really.
Doug Truax: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people in the in the middle are saying that to themselves now. So last question. So California, I, I grew up in New Mexico and we wanted to go on a big vacation, we went to California, I love this. Beautiful, but what a disaster now. And so what's your opinion of, is there some kind of political revolt on the way at some point? Is there a low that gets get reached? I mean, we've got all the energy problems that you're having, you alluded to a second ago. I mean, what's your opinion of the future of California?
Harmeet Dhillon: You know, you, you look at similar problems happening in Europe and because there isn't as much mobility and let's say Italy or Germany or something because of language barriers, people aren't gonna go move to the next country across the border. And so they stay there and they elect better people. In California, our problem is people who have the ability to move, have moved out of California, conservatives have moved out of California. I feel like I'm one of the last people standing of my group of close friends who lives here. And it becomes increasingly difficult to justify that decision economically. And so the people who care about this place have reluctantly moved and we are becoming a tourism state for illegal aliens, people who wanna mutilate their children, transgender and, and abortion issues. And so it is a very dark time in California and there are pockets of light here or there.
For example, we did recall our school board here and our district attorney, but our replacement district attorney is in a hard fought battle to keep that seat and well-funded opponents from the left are trying to take that back. So I I, I think that the good money I was on, frankly, leaving California and letting it collapse and have to re be rebuilt from the ashes. That's a multi decade project unfortunately. And it is really sad. I love waking up in the morning and seeing the ocean and, and I saw whales yesterday on my drive and so you don't get that in other parts of the country. And so, you know, I really, I hope I'm wrong, but I think California is not looking like it's going to turn around anytime soon.
Doug Truax: Yeah, yeah. That's a shame. I'm glad you got those views. I live in Illinois, so I don't even have that, but so Well, you know, Harmit, I really appreciate your bravery, your courage and taking on all this stuff. I know you're doing a lot, a lot, a lot more than people recognize and super important work. The country is way too important to let it go. And, and you're right there in the fight. So thanks for all you're doing and thanks for coming on today.
Harmeet Dhillon: It's my pleasure. Thank you so much for all that you do too, Doug.
Doug Truax: All right. That's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and for supporting conservative media. Don't forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness. Until next week, let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America
First. Right? A new kind of new summary without the liberal slant Every morning in your inbox, always free subscribe by texting first right to 3 0 1 61. That's FIRSTRIGHT All caps one word to 3 0 1 61.