By contrast, about $220,000 went to law firms that represented many of the GOP electors in 2022.
The financial arrangement came into clearer focus earlier this year when then-Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer, one of the 16 fake electors, announced he wouldn’t seek another term and praised the party’s executive committee for agreeing to cover the legal fees in his farewell dispatch.
“I have raised the money to honor that commitment,” he wrote in a note to activists, “so that none of them have had to pay a penny out of pocket.”
Shafer has since been replaced as party chairman by former state Sen. Josh McKoon.
The false slate of electors became a major point of interest to a Fulton County special grand jury, as some legal experts say those GOP electors may have violated election fraud and forgery statutes, among other crimes.
The fake electors, who met the same day in December 2020 that the state’s electors cast Georgia’s votes in the Electoral College for Joe Biden, submitted to state and federal authorities documents that claimed they were the “duly elected” electors from the state, which they said Trump won.
Several electors have said they participated in the ceremony in case pro-Trump legal challenges succeeded and that they are now being victimized by politically motivated prosecutors. Among them is Shafer, who said the “organs of law enforcement have been weaponized against Republicans.”
At least eight of the “alternate” presidential electors in 2020 accepted immunity deals with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in exchange for their testimony, according to the lawyer representing the group.
Shafer’s attorneys, in a bid to ward off an indictment, have cited the actions of Hawaii Democrats during the razor-thin 1960 presidential election in that state as a historic precedent. They’ve also argued the electors were following legal advice.
One of the firms representing the electors, Strickland Debrow, was paid about $272,500 during the first half of the year by the state party, according to the disclosures. That’s on top of $170,000 last year.
Holly Pierson of Pierson Law was paid at least $45,000 in attorney fees by the Georgia GOP during the first half of the year. She was paid at least $52,000 in attorney fees by the Georgia GOP last year.
Craig Gillen, who is representing Shafer along with Pierson, was paid nearly $37,000 by the Republican Party during the first six months of 2023.
McKoon, the party’s chairman, said, “I am deeply saddened and angered that the Georgia Republican Party is having to pay lawyers to defend conduct that has been well established for over a century as an appropriate mechanism to lawfully challenge the result of a presidential election.”
The party raised $722,000 during the previous six months, through June 30, so a large chunk of what it took in went for legal expenses. It still listed having nearly $1.4 million banked.
“The motivation of those pursuing this witch hunt is clearly to demoralize and bankrupt Georgians who took action to preserve a legal remedy to contest the election in 2020,” he said.
“But the Georgia Republican Party will not abandon these men and women who love their country and are being persecuted for taking action identical to electors in Hawaii in 1960 and in conformity with electors taking similar action going all the way back to 1876,” McKoon said.