Mike Lindell, managing director of My Pillow Inc., speaks to members of the media upon his arrival in federal court in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday, June 24, 2021.
Samuel Corum | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A member of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s legal team has ties to Republican super PACs and pushed false conspiracies regarding Vice President Kamala Harris and Covid-19.
Lindell has hired William Olson as one of its legal advisers, according to a new case filed in federal court in Minnesota.
Olson’s firm has done legal work for GOP super PACs who backed Ben Carson in the 2016 presidential election, backed then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and backed the senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in his 2018 Senate race against the former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Olson’s recent legal work includes submitting an amicus brief that falsely claims that Harris is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is ineligible to be vice president. Harris was born in California. The conspiracy about Harris – America’s first black vice president – echoes the racist birth theory that Trump and others have spread about President Barack Obama.
Olson has also used his Twitter account to push some coronavirus claims that have been disputed by the FDA or deemed misleading by the social media platform.
Olson’s presence on Lindell’s legal team was revealed in a recent court filing. This filing asks a federal court judge in Minnesota to allow Olson to appear in that court and submit documents on Lindell’s behalf in a case where he is challenging a subpoena for his phone records from the House committee investigating the origins of the January 6 Capitol riot.. Because Olson is not licensed to practice law in Minnesota, he needs a judge’s permission to appear in a case there.
Lindell has come under scrutiny from the committee after repeatedly making false claims that voter fraud led to Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump.
Longtime defense attorney Alan Dershowitz is also representing Lindell as he fights the subpoena. Dershowitz represented Trump during his first impeachment and worked for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who as Trump’s lawyer pushed to overturn the 2020 results.
In response to CNBC’s text questions about Olson’s advice, Lindell responded with the following statement: “Brian, why don’t you be a real journalist and report the election crimes of 2020? I don’t have no time to entertain you horrible journalist today!”
Lindell has pushed several claims about the 2020 election that federal and state officials have said are false. William Barr, who served as attorney general under Trump, said there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Courts have ruled against the former president’s efforts to overturn the presidential results dozens of times. Trump continues to spread conspiracy theories about the election results more than a year after his defeat.
Olson did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Olson’s Links to GOP Super PACs
Olson’s company website indicates that he practices campaign fundraising. The firm, William J. Olson PC, says it specializes in “negotiating fundraising agreements; reviewing fundraising solicitations; complying with federal, state and local solicitation laws charity; participation in the combined federal campaign of the federal government”.
FEC records show that since the 2016 presidential election, Olson’s firm has been paid just over $160,000 by at least two different PACs for what is described on all forms as “legal fees.” “. Clients gave no further description of what his firm has done for these committees, which can legally spend and collect an unlimited amount of money.
One of the PACs that paid for Olson’s company changed its name after the 2016 election, to the committee’s 2016 Stars and Stripes Forever PAC. The group supported Carson in the Republican primary and then Trump when he faced Hillary Clinton in the general election.
The 2016 committee spent $5 million supporting Carson, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He shelled out $1 million in the general election to support Trump over Clinton.
John Philip Sousa IV, who leads the PAC and is the great-grandson of the bandleader who composed “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” says Olson still represents the PAC, which plans to remain active in the elections of mid-term of 2022.
“He was/is our lawyer and got us out of trouble with the Feds,” Sousa said of Olson in an email Wednesday. He did not respond to follow-up emails asking for specific examples of what Olson has done for the PAC. He noted that his definition of “Feds” in this case was the FEC.
Sousa’s PAC spent more than $115,000 supporting Trump in the 2020 election and another $48,000 opposing Biden, according to CRP data.
One of the organization’s top donors in the 2016 election was Julianna Hawn Holt, who was president and co-CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
Mother Jones previously reported that Sousa led a PAC supporting former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he successfully ran for re-election in Arizona in 2012. He did not have legal status.
Olson’s firm was also paid for the legal work by the Hispanic Victory PAC, according to the documents. CRP data shows the band spent more than $40,000 supporting Cruz in 2018 and just over $30,000 against O’Rourke.
The former Hispanic Victory PAC president did not return an email seeking comment.
Covid and Kamala Harris
Olson recently signed an amicus brief against the dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed Harris was not a natural born citizen and could not legally be vice president. Olson represented an outside group.
This Harris theory was debunked during the 2020 campaign by several fact checkers, including FactCheck.org. The website at the time stated: “Kamala Harris, running mate of former Vice President Joe Biden, is eligible for the presidency of the United States, contrary to false claims in viral Facebook posts. His mother is Indian and his father Jamaican, but Harris was born in Oakland, California.”
Yet Olson submitted an amicus brief dated early November 2020 after Election Day that incorrectly concludes that Harris is not a natural-born citizen.
“Being neither a “born citizen” nor a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, she is not eligible to be either Vice President or (or President) of the United States “, says the folder. .
Since then, Olson has taken to Twitter to spread misinformation about Covid. A tweet posted on Olson’s account in December, the month when Covid cases spiked nationwide, was called “misleading” by the social media company.
The tweet quoted an article on Zero Hedge and said, “Ivermectin prophylaxis used for COVID-19 reduces COVID-19 infection and death rates.” The Food and Drug Administration said it has not cleared or approved the antiparasitic drug ivermectin for use in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 in humans or animals.
In another tweet in December, Olson appeared to encourage people not to get the Covid shot: “Everyone should take this advice to heart – don’t get vaccinated – the tide is turning – as Dr Malone says, ‘just wait.'”
Dr. Malone has the same name as a doctor who, according to The Atlantic, is a vaccine scientist who spreads misinformation.
Trump himself has encouraged people to get vaccinated.